“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Tomorrow is the first day of a new year. Resolutions will be made (and broken within two weeks). We’ll stock up on salads and blow the dust off the treadmill. Maybe we’ll crack open Genesis 1 in our determination to read the Bible every day (until we get to Leviticus). But all that is for tomorrow.
Today is the last day of the old year and while all our efforts for change will launch in the next 24 hours, there is significance to this day too. I always like to sweep and mop my floors thoroughly on December 31st. My mom used to say, “We don’t want to walk into the new year on last year’s dirt.” I think that’s good advice for more than just my house. That’s good advice for life.
As the year comes to a close, I think it’s good to sweep out the dirt of the past 365 days. Did you make any mistakes this year? Me too. We should keep the wisdom we gained from those mistakes, but let’s sweep out the guilt and shame. Did you sin at all? You and I both know we did. Let’s confess it, receive God’s grace and walk into the new year in freedom. Did someone hurt you this year? Forgive them and leave it here in the old year. It’s a gift to them and to yourself. Maybe things just didn’t turn out like you expected. Let’s toss those unmet expectations and look toward the new year with hope in God.
Our family made a big move this year and a lot of old stuff didn’t come with us. Today is a good day to unpack some stuff before you move into a fresh new year. Like resentment and bad attitudes and anger and jealously – you really don’t want to bring those with you, do you? Let’s put them in the box with old prejudices, bitterness, laziness (ouch, my toes), and selfishness and toss them all in the burn pile.
The new year awaits us with an open calendar and a fresh perspective and all our hopes for God’s good blessings. But we don’t want to walk in the new year with all the sins and mistakes and hurts of the old year. Oswald Chambers wisely advises, “Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.” Tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, let’s leave the past in the past and start the new year with hope and peace and joy. May the Lord bless you richly in the coming year.