Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
-2 Corinthians 5:17
When I was a little child, at Christmas time especially, I often protected my brand new gifts from my siblings. Sharing was an impossibility, it seemed. I didn’t want them to mess up my new things. As I got older, some new gifts I received at Christmas I wouldn’t open for a few days because I didn’t want to lose the enchantment of the newness of the gift. Some gifts were more precious depending on the source, so I would only let others look (but not touch), and I would then tuck them away for preservation.
New Things Don’t Last
We all have a fondness for new things. Maybe you are the “preservation” type of person, keeping the gift boxed to maintain its value for the next 20 years. Or you’re possibly the type that can’t wait to use your Christmas gifts, even if that means they will be well-worn “velveteen rabbits” by the end of next year.
There is an excitement around new things. We love the new-car fragrance reminiscent of when our car was newly purchased. Effort is spent on restoring possessions to be “as good as new” because we value newness. We post pictures of our new things so friends can celebrate with us and possibly envy our latest new gadget. Eventually though, what is new will become old. All too soon, we may lose our excitement over that newfangled object. It may find its way to the back of a drawer or the corner of our minds as it changes from new and fresh to being worn, tarnished, broken, and used up.
Something That Never Gets Old
There is one gift, however, that holds it’s perfect new-ness: the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. The gift of eternal life is ours when we accept Christ, and the great news is, it doesn’t wear out! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that the old has gone away, meaning that our old selves aren’t anywhere to be found. Our old, used up, tarnished lives have been transformed into new creations. This is not a “good as new” kind of situation, either. We actually are new creations. That is how God sees us – as brand new. Because of Jesus, no matter what we looked like before, no matter how much life we have already lived, God sees us not as tarnished but as shining lights. He sees us not as used up but filled up with His purpose and Spirit. He sees us, not as damaged, but in just the right condition for His glory.
As this year comes to a close and you reflect on all that it held, there may be an assortment of experiences, people, and possessions that come to mind. It may have been a great year full of the best new things you could have ever imagined. Or it may have been a painful year where much of what was once new is now gone or broken. However, this past year doesn’t define or overshadow you in God’s eyes. There is a new year beginning and new things still to come, but you have been new since the day you stepped into God’s great grace. This current (new) you will always be new in Christ. There is nothing that can abolish God’s love and grace for you.
New Year, New You
We need a new year in order to contemplate our change from God’s perspective. We need to leave behind the previous year(s) and step into this new year aware of our recreation – not old and busted but bright, shiny and new in Christ. Our newness won’t spoil, tarnish, or fade because in Christ we stand radically new before God. As we reflect on this past year, we can mourn our losses, seek forgiveness for our sins, and be thankful in all circumstances. We can then lift our heads to see the One who makes us new. We can remember who and what we are: we are new creations.