The dawning of a new year brings hope of a new beginning, a fresh start.
A Chinese expression provides a timely reminder: The whole year’s work depends on a good start in spring, and the whole day’s work on a good start in the morning. Time flashes by and unless it is managed and planned, each day passes quickly and leaves us with much regret when night falls. The days and seasons roll by in the same routine and, before we know it, the year has gone by and we have nothing to show for it.
The new superseding the old is a general law of nature that God laid down for His creation. All living matter undergoes the process of growing, reproducing and perishing.
An important message in Ecclesiastes is that there is nothing new under the sun. All God’s creation lives under His natural law: for everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to harvest. In this cycle of the new replacing the old, God is the beginning and the final point. As part of God’s creation, there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. (Eccles 3:1—14). We need also to be grateful for all the goodness and blessings that come our way.
We know we are all living in finite time. Let us not feel too anguished for persons or things that will perish, but be hopeful and excited about the new that is to come. It is natural for us to feel sad on losing our life partner, loved ones or friends. Often, this sadness is tinged with much regret and reluctance to bid farewell. It is for this reason that we should cherish the present and find opportunities to affirm and show appreciation to those around us.
Being new creations in Christ, we experience transformation and renewal of life, not decline and death. As Paul said, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Therefore, we do not lose heart (2 Cor 4:16). We will not be pessimistic over the passage of time.
The year past is being superseded and the new year is a fresh beginning. Let us look forward to a fresh start in the new year.
Have a happy and blessed year!
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.
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