I remember a cartoon from my boyhood of Baby New Year and Father Time. We’ve all seen cartoons like that, I know. The one I recall had Baby New Year entering stage right, freshly diapered, in a top hat, with a bright smile, and wearing a sash with the new year imprinted on it. Father Time, on the other hand, was exiting stage left wearing a tattered sash, all bent over, almost slinking off, his robe torn and patched, all but stepping on his long, unkempt beard, scythe in hand, his job of mowing things down, as time does, finished.
The hope in the cartoon is centered in the baby who represents all that is new and fresh in the coming year, while Father Time melts away, taking with him all the burdens of the year-end. The cartoon suggests that the New Year makes all things new and sends all that’s old and bad away. It’s a great thought, not entirely untrue, but not entirely true either.
There is a similar picture in the Bible of a new baby and an old man, but there’s a difference in its significance. In this picture both the old man and the new baby offer unmixed and unlimited hope, the hope from a life well lived and the hope of a life destined to die a violent death. Yes, the baby is hope, but this hope is real hope that realizes that our life only comes through His death. The old man speaks of this violent death, but he also speaks of a great blessing that offers hope to all. His name is Simeon, and the baby is Jesus. The event occurred (if Jesus was born on December 25, 4 BC) on January 2, 3 BC, eight days after Jesus’s birth, and the occasion was the presentation of Jesus at the Temple for His circumcision in accordance with the Old Testament Law.
Simeon was a prophet who spent much time in the Temple and who knew from God that he would not die until he saw God’s Promised One. When Joseph and Mary entered the temple grounds, the Spirit indicated to Simeon that this baby was the One he was waiting for. Immediately the prophet approached Joseph ad Mary and uttered a blessing on the child. It is from this blessing (Luke 2:29-32) that I take my 2017 New Year’s Blessing for you.
A New Year’s Blessing, 2017
May God give you
The peace of a life lived in obedience to God,
Eyes full of insight into the revelation of God,
And a heart that reflects Christ’s light for the glory of God.
Peace in seasons of trouble, insight in times of confusion, and light in times of darkness, all for God’s glory. I can think of no greater blessing for these days.
Happy New Year!