Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Wishes for 2010

I've been having an issue with the whole "Happy New Year" thing. As I've heard it and said it the past few days, it just seems so...shallow, superficial, and generally self-centered. Is the best we can wish for someone or for ourselves in the year ahead is to be happy? Happiness is such a fleeting, circumstantial and external state of emotional feeling. Is happiness the be-all and end-all of human existence? It seems that it is for most of the unbelieving world. Personal gratification and satisfaction, a state of happiness in the here and now, I guess is all the person apart from Jesus Christ can hope for. But can't we people of God, who have been given a new birth and a new nature and a new purpose to our existence through the grace of God in Christ, come up with a more substantial wish for our friends and family in the new year? I think we must.

Don't misunderstand me - I like being happy as much as the next guy. I'm not one of those dour-faced self-flagellating ascetic legalist types who think the most devout Christians should be the most miserable people on the face of the earth. There's enough of those people around to last a lifetime and more. But putting the focus on happiness, rather than on the One who is the source of happiness and joy and life and peace and righteousness for the believer, is just missing the point.

So my wish for my friends and family and the few readers of this blog, Christian and otherwise, is this: to have a Christ-centered and God-glorifying 2010. To have a year in which Jesus Christ is at the center of every facet of your life. Twelve months of being fully engrossed in and satisfied with all the He is. If that means receiving His grace in salvation, more the better. A year that is fully gospel-saturated with the person and work and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as a result of that, a year that is fully glorifying to God. Three hundred sixty five days of words, actions, thoughts, deeds, emotions and disciplines that reflect the holiness and worthiness of our Lord and Savior. A year of living out the purpose that He created you for and redeemed you to fulfill.

And as an outcome of these two God-focused wishes for your new year, I wish you not just happiness, but joy. The joy that goes deeper and further and wider than any circumstantial happiness, and that flows from a life lived for and satisfied with the presence of Christ and the glory of God. A joy that transcends all else, and that can and will produce a happiness in Him that will last far beyond 2010.

Next time you hear someone wish you "Happy New Year" - translate that slogan into these terms, and anticipate how He will fulfill them.

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