A New Year is an Old Refrain

Dec 31, 2016
Kent Heaton

It was on the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:14-19) that God placed lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and to serve as signs and seasons, and for days and years. The sun would rule in the day and the moon would rule in the night. The design of the heavenly bodies was to give light on the earth and to divide the light from the darkness. “And God saw that it was good.”
Our world is not two thousand and ten years old. It is much older. As we pass the milestone of 2010 we reflect upon the creation of time and the impact on man. The world is ruled by days and nights that have been established in a period of time since creation. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) declares that man lives in an envelope of time. Creation itself is divided into six days with the Lord resting on the seventh day. The garden where man first lived had a “tree of life” (Genesis 2:9) that would sustain the years of man’s existence forever. Following the rebellion of man in Genesis 3 the Lord God drove man from the garden “lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22).
Moses writes of Adam living 930 years and his son Seth living 912 years (Genesis 5:5,6). The oldest man in the Bible is recorded as Methuselah at the age of 969 years (Genesis 5:27). Throughout the pages of scripture the Holy Spirit impresses upon the pages of time the days of man’s fleeting years. Life has been measured by the ruler of time since the beginning. The reality of life is that while we acknowledge a new year it is only an old reminder of the ages past where men have walked before.

Time is a fleeting vapor that “appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The marking of transition between years serves as a reminder that we are mortal beings governed by the clock of time ever winding down toward a final end. Reflections are made from this past year of those whom we knew and loved that died. In that somber reflection we acknowledge that time has passed for that person. Man has a beginning and man has an end. There is no new year for them. Even if we were able to live as long as Methuselah we would find the same fate he found at the age of 969: “and he died.” Should this make us despondent or should this make us aware of our mortality?

The celebration of a new year should be a time of joy to share with one another in the blessing of God’s grace. Cognitive of this fact should cause us to think soberly upon the decisions that we made last year and the decisions we shall make this year. Moses declared in Psalm 90, “10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We should number our days in the celebration of our years. The decisions made last year will find fruit in the plans we will seek in the coming year to be more keenly aware of our lives before an eternal God.
The Preacher of Ecclesiastes declared, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Happy New Year in the year of our Lord 2011. May the blessing of God’s Son be our guiding light in this new year.

Additional Reading