Christmas is over and the year 2017 is coming to an end. Newspapers, TV and the Internet are filled with articles looking back over the past year and forward to the year to come.
2017 has been a year dominated by Brexit (a subject that still has legs to run for a while yet). We have seen radical Islamists carry out terrorist attacks in cities around the word. The nation was shocked to see the video footage of the Grenfell Tower fire. We have mourned the deaths of dozens of well-loved celebrities. Further afield we have seen natural disasters ruining thousands upon thousands of lives across the world, whilst we wait to see what the outcome will be of the standoff between Donald Trump and North Korea. The list is endless!
What about on the personal level, what has 2017 been like for you? An annus horibilus or an annus mirabilis? Has the year been one of breakthrough or breakdown?
No one truly knows what 2018 has in store. Will negotiations with Europe result in a deal that guarantees a prosperous future for the UK? Will it be the year that peace comes to the world’s trouble spots? Will it be the year that my personal circumstances improve?
In the midst of such uncertainty it is good to step back and take a wider view. One year is quite a short period in the lifetime of an average person. It is shorter still in the vista of the thousands of years of human history. Have you ever stopped to consider how your life fits into the perspective of eternity, where even the years of human history are simply an insignificant dot on the timeline?
Christians believe that life does not end with our physical death but that there will be a day of resurrection when all humanity will stand before God. On that day it will matter little whether 2017 was a bad year or whether 2018 will be a good year, God will examine our whole life in the round. The goals and ambitions you might set yourself for 2018 will pale into insignificance as God measures your life against his standard of goodness.
The bleak news is that none of us, not even the kindest most moral people, measure up to God’s standard, which is perfection. As a result we are all headed not simply to an annus horibilus but to an eternity of complete and utter desolation. The good news is that by placing our trust in Jesus we can secure for ourselves an eternity of unending peace, joy and happiness.
I sincerely hope that you have a Happy New Year in 2018, one that exceeds your expectations. My prayer is that through Jesus you begin a Happy New Eternity!