A new calendar year

Most people have one. Most people get a new one each year. Most people basically live by the same one. Yet many have discovered a completely new version that makes sense of the whole of life. That’s true for me. Following Jesus re-writes the calendar of life: the past, present and also the future.

While most of my life is diary driven, the bigger picture is the history of salvation: from creation to the new creation. I recently mislaid my diary. At first I was annoyed, then I was anxious. A search and rescue operation was launched. I checked the study, my coat, the car and my bags. My wife re-checked them. I texted friends in case I’d left it behind when we’d met the day before. I re-lived the last twenty-four hours. Finally, I found it – in a drawer. Phew! Nothing had changed except my use of time. But, what of the bigger picture? My frantic activity sits in a bigger story: the story of Jesus and his Kingdom.

If you celebrate Christmas then you acknowledge how God stepped into His world, at a particular time in history. He came to provide a rescue for lost humanity and He promises to return take His rescued people home. We’re to live in the light of this, as the Apostle Paul explained to the Athenians: ‘He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that people would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us’ (Acts 17v26-27). God created history when He created time and He will bring history to a fitting close: ‘For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all people by raising Him from the dead’ (Acts 17v31). The one named ‘Jesus’ matters a whole lot more than the Christmas cards let on!

So, this next year is not just another revolution of the clock, but an opportunity to grow in Christian faith. We invest time in up-skilling for work, so what about ups-skilling your faith? Resolve to get to grips with the Bible’s teachings. Develop a discipline of prayer. Commit to live for the extension of God’s Kingdom. This month we have a service to rededicate ourselves to the service of the Lord. Next month we start ‘Life Explored’ during Lent. Will your 2017 diary reflect God’s priorities? May you know many blessings in this New Year.

Paul Kingman

Magazine January 2017