As we come to the end of one year and anticipate the next, we usually have one of two attitudes: eagerness or dread. We either expect things to improve, or to turn sour.
The reality is, there is a measure of appropriateness to each attitude when they aren’t taken to the extreme. It is right to be hopeful in a world controlled by a good God. It is right to have a measure of apprehension in a world populated by sinners (either regenerate or not).
Our hope can never be merely in the changing of the seasons, or the advance from one year to the next. Our hope must be fixed on something greater and more significant.
We have just celebrated the advent, the coming, of Jesus. Or, to be more precise, we have celebrated his first advent. We’ve celebrated the wonders of the incarnation where God took on flesh in order to bear our punishment.
But there is another advent coming, and it is in this advent that we put our unbridled and unmeasured hope in. Christ will return to claim the world he not only made but died to save.
In Revelation 21:5, God makes that astounding statement, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ In the world to come the old things – death, mourning, crying, pain – will all be done away with. There will only ever be good things, never bad. Only ever joy, never pain. We have no need to be guarded in our anticipation, because it will be greater than we could even imagine.
As we come to a new year, let us put our hope in that Great Day, the dawn of the new age. ‘He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!’ (Rev 22:20).