The days following January 1st each year are a strange time. The anticipation surrounding Christmas festivities is over. The twinkling red and green decor has been boxed up once again. The homemade treat supply dwindles and life settles back into its relatively normal routine.
All hope is not gone, however, because with each new calendar year comes a sense of resetting and fresh starts. Whether we lay out specific goals and commit to resolutions or not, we all hope that these new twelve months on the calendar will be better.
If I can finally get my finances under control, this year will be better.
If this year doesn't hold similar trials to the ones that I faced last year, it will be better.
If my sports team finally wins the championship, this year will be better.
If I figure out how to fix my child's behavior problems this year, it will be so much better.
If I finish that degree..
If I take that trip.....
If I get that job......
If I complete that Bible study.....
If I lose those pounds.....
If I buy that house......
If I finally organize this house......
If I read more books.....
If I get that new car.....
then this year will be much better that last year!
We cling to the potential changes that come with a fresh calendar as an answer to the disappointment, frustration, and hardships of the past. But, here's a depressing question....what if it's not better? What if this year is worse? What if trials loom on the horizon that have never entered our imagination? What then?
I'm excited to begin studying the book of Hebrews once again with a friend of mine this month. In preparation, I have been reading slowly through the book and while I have only made it a couple chapters, the theme jumps off the pages from the start.
Jesus is better!
The author of Hebrews argues that the Son of God is supreme over some of the greatest things we can imagine such as angels or faithful servants of God like Moses. Name anything and Jesus is better.
That brings me true hope in this new year in the big and small things. For instance, we are still getting used to living in our new home. It's quiet and calm in this more rural area of the county, but it also brings with it a learning curve for us city folk! We knew that field mice love to find warmer, cozier spots through the winter months, but besides occasional noises in the walls and a few caught in the basement, we haven't been bothered much by them. Until yesterday when I found mouse droppings in at least 75% of the drawers and cupboards in my kitchen. A mouse (or two or three) must have been having a party the night before. It sent me into a cleaning frenzy. Everything that could have possibly been touched by those tiny feet got washed or sprayed. My entire day was spent trying to defeat these little intruders.
The thought, "If we can get rid of this mouse problem, 2020 will be so much better" was running through my mind all day. The reality is something much different, however. Even if we find a magic mouse solution and never see another dropping again, there will always be something else on the horizon. It could be as silly and small as annoying animals or as large as a terrifying medical diagnosis.
The things that might make this year "better" won't ultimately satisfy unless our hearts are settled by the One who is "best" remembering that He has resolved the greatest struggle we faced because of our sin. He has fixed the problem we could never solve on our own. What beautiful news to cling to throughout the year!
Whatever you may be facing today only a few days into 2020, Jesus is better.
When the hopes you have for yourself, your children, or your ministry this year are not fulfilled, Jesus is better.
When fears haunt your thoughts no matter how hard you try to push them away, Jesus is better.
Even when you experience an amazing day full of happiness, Jesus is better.
This truth allows us to say "Happy New Year" and mean it! We can have joy knowing that whatever sweet memories, frustrating situations, and mundane tasks lie ahead this year, Jesus is better.