New Year’s Day is the closest thing to being the world’s only truly global public holiday or day of celebration. It may be celebrated on different months and different days but the new year is celebrated in almost every nation and culture. Most countries use the Gregorian calendar as their main calendar, and New Year’s Day is observed on the first day of January.
The month of January originally owes its name to the deity Janus, the Roman god of gates, doors, and beginnings. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking backward. January 1 represents the fresh start of a new year after a period of remembrance of the passing year. In our country we celebrate New Year’s Day with New Year’s resolutions, parades, football games, and fireworks.
2012 has been a very eventful and alarming year in many ways. It has been a very stressful year for many who have lost jobs or who have lost family members in very traumatic ways. Thoughts of the end of the world have filled the minds of many of us. Have you given your fears, concerns, regrets, and disappointments from the year 2012 over to God? Pastor Ray Steadman once told his congregation, “On New Year’s Eve we realize more than at any other time in our lives that we can never go back in time. We can look and remember, but we cannot retrace a single moment of the year that is past.”
Looking ahead, are we ready to move on into 2013? As we’ve waited for, and been warned about, the end of the Mayan calendar and the predictions of the end of the world, are we ready for the calendar of events God has revealed to us in the Bible? According to the Scriptures, the next thing on the world’s calendar is not the end of the world. That won’t occur for over a thousand years. The next thing we need to be ready for is the rapture of Christians. By “Christians” I mean those who have repented of their sins and have invited Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord, and their changed lives bear witness to the fact that their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ is real. I Thessalonians 4:15-18 and I Corinthians 15:50-53 tell us that all genuine Christians will suddenly disappear. They will be caught up to meet Jesus Christ in the air and be taken to heaven. Are you ready for that moment? If not, you will be left behind, and there will be seven years of Tribulation – the wrath of God upon the earth. Please make a New Year’s resolution to come to a personal knowledge of, and commitment to, Jesus Christ.
Dr. Dennis DeHaan shared the following message in the New Year’s Eve Daily Bread brochure in 2004. 16th-century Venetian artist Titian portrayed Prudence as a man with three heads. One head was of a youth facing the future, another was of a mature man with his eyes on the present, and the third head was that of a wise old man gazing at the past. Over their heads Titian wrote a Latin phrase that means, “From the example of the past, the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future.”
This has not been an easy year to look back on, and the coming year may not be an easy one to look forward to, but we are not alone. In the Old Testament book of Joshua, chapter 1, after Moses died and God told Joshua to enter the land of Canaan and conquer it, He also gave this promise: “As I have been with Moses, so I will be with you. . . . Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Let’s dedicate ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ so that we might enter the year 2013 with courage and joyful excitement!