Friday, December 31, 2010

And So Ends Another Year

Today we commemorate the end of the year 2010.  For some it has been a great year, but for many it has been a rough year.  As our economy gets worse and and wars drag on, I know this year has been hard for many.  It is great how in our minds we box up a year as though it were a world unto itself, but in reality what happened in this year will just continue on into the next.  So although we celebrate a milestone in our timekeeping this evening, time itself marches on to its own beat seeming to ignore the arbitrary markers we put help us know where we are at.  I say that because when you think about it, the new year could just as easily began on July 1 as it does on January 1.  Whether its what minute of the hour, hour of the day, day of the week, week of the month, month of the year, year of the decade, decade of the century, century of the millenium, and any time of all time, it only is as it is because someone some time ago decided to start counting time and enough of us bought into his system until we accept it as normal.  In reality, it is really king of meaningless in the grand scheme of things. We do not even follow the Hebrew calender and so the months and times in the Bible have little meaning in our time system.

I like to think of time though not as counting forward but as counting backward.  In fact, many television stations right now have a countdown going as to when this year will end and the new one will begin.  We will all get in front of our televisions and watch some overly ornate illuminated balls falls down a pole and count down the last 5 seconds of this year and wait for "2011" to light up in big lights, then we will kiss our loved ones, sing "Auld Lang Syne", and watch confetti fall at whatever party we are watching on television.  I am sure we are making plans right now hoping to have some where to spend this night.  I know we are making food, planning on having a good time, looking forward to the end of this year.  It is a night of parties and fun and a night we look forward to for a long time.

That gets me to thinking.  We get so excited to celebrate the end of a year knowing full well that the new year does not bring an end of last year's problems.  We get so excited to celebrate the end of an arbitrary year that at some point enough countries agreed upon to make official, but really has no meaning as the universe did not begin nor was Jesus born on January 1, 0000.  We get so excited to celebrate a day that really means nothing to our lives, holds no promise of anything better, and was not appointed by God to be any kind of "new year."  We get so worked up for all of that, but what do we do get ready ourselves for the end of all time?  We know Jesus can come at any time and we know the party known as the marriage supper of the lamb will be the feast of feasts.  We know that day is counting down on a calender only known by God and when that calender hits zero, it really does actually mean something.  We know that when Jesus returns, the problems of not just the last year but of all your life will cease to exist.  We know that when Jesus returns, it is a time appointed by God. 

So, brothers and sisters, with the same vigor you celebrate the coming of the new year this evening, celebrate the day of the Lord's return.   Celebrate not just a new year but being one day closer to a day that really matters, that being the day of our redemption.  Do not just look forward to a new year, but look for the new earth that Jesus us preparing for us right now.  The Lord is coming, brothers and sisters.  The Lord is coming soon.  Our redemption is drawing nearer still.  Can 2011 be the year of our Lord's return?  Let's live like it will be.
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:20-21 NKJV

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