A Reflection from an Old Year for a New One
Trending Topic: #PersonoftheYear
TIME Magazine released their annual “Person of the Year” issue a little while ago, and it was none other than Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. Many people were surprised it wasn’t someone like Pope Francis, Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders. Still others had no idea that Germany had a chancellor (and that it’s not Supreme Chancellor Palpatine). But for most people, it was shocking because they had no idea who Merkel was.
I’m afraid that TIME has once again missed the mark. According to them, the criteria for “Person of the Year” is “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”
I hardly think Angela Merkel “most affected” the news. And she certainly had no impact on my life this year. But on the other hand, neither did the Pope, Trump, or Sanders—other than to make me very frustrated. However, there is someone who “most affected” my life—and everyone else’s—this year. Maybe he wasn’t in the news a lot. But he does embody what is “important” about this year—and every year!
If TIME really wanted to be honest about their criteria, they would’ve picked the man who’s been called “the image of the invisible God” and the “firstborn of all creation.” Sounds pretty impactful, right?
He is called Jesus Christ, but I call Him my Savior, my Lord, my Shepherd, and my Friend. He is the Person of my Year—the one who had the most impact on my life. And His magazine article telling of His importance could very well be the book of Colossians.
Listen to these verses detailing His glories in Colossians 1:16-17:
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Well, the Creator of the Universe should certainly have been on TIME’s short list! After all without Him, there wouldn’t be a planet earth—much less a TIME magazine! The reason He’s my everything is because without Him I would not exist! He’s “before” everything—so of course He has the right to be first on my priority list. He holds everything together, from mountain ranges to molecular chains. Yeah, I’d agree with the Apostle Paul—in all things He has the preeminence because in all things…HE IS GOD!
But the wonder of it all are verses 21-22: “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…”
It’s hard to put into words what those verses mean for a wretch like me. For a guy who’s wasted much of this past year on sin and selfishness—on doing everything opposite of my Creator’s wishes. I played the part of the rebel this year, but He played the part of the Rescuer! The Reconciler. So that the one so full of “evil deeds” might be called “holy and blameless.” All He’s done for me in salvation cannot be expressed in so few words—that’s why I’ve written so many blogs and poems and stories trying to explain the unexplainable. But Paul puts it pretty simply in verse 27…
“Christ in you—the hope of glory!”
Looking back on this year, I can clearly see that the God who created me and saved me…took care of me. At every step of the way—on down days and “meh” days and awesome days. When I was lonely, discontent, lustful, grumpy, bitter, impatient, unloving, happy, excited, or nervous, He was God. He was good. He was faithful.
There was not a moment when He did not love me. There was not a moment when He left me. Even when I felt things were spinning out of control, He was sovereign. Yeah, He “most affected” my life—because He controls the entire universe, yet stooped to take active part in my story every day!
January 1st. December 31st. And every day in between. He’s been good.
This year, I felt His hand of protection in a massive city in a foreign country, in near-miss car accidents, and in good health. I felt His hand of blessing in the encouraging notes of a girlfriend, in the gifts and laughs of family, and the coffee conversations of friends new and old. I don’t deserve Starbucks or Star Wars or sweets—much less a Savior! I felt His Hand of mercy and grace in the rebuke of a sermon, the impact of a Scripture passage, and the prayer of repentance. He’s forgiven my thousands—no, MILLIONS of falls this year.
Yeah, He’s good. He’s great. I can never thank Him enough.
But I can do more than just words. I can live my life this year with such a great God in mind. Looking at His blessings this past year should move me to serve Him this year. It certainly did for Paul. At the end of Paul’s “Person of All Time” article in Colossians 1, he writes,
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (vs. 28).
Him we proclaim. The good and gracious Jesus Christ. The preeminent Creator. The compassionate Savior. Talk about a New Year’s Resolution! Paul acknowledges that it’ll be hard, but boldly declares,
“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (vs. 29).
That’s my New Year’s Resolution. And with the power of the Creator God at my back, I can “struggle” and do it! For all He’s done for me, it’s the least I can do!
It’s a new year—but it’s the same God. As Rend Collective puts it in a hymn for New Year’s…
Your grace will never be forgot.
Your mercy all my life
Will be my soul’s forever song,
My story and my light.
From mountaintop to valley low,
Through laughter and through tears,
Surely the goodness of my God
Will follow all the years.
In all our failures and regrets,
You’ve always led us home.
Redemption’s arm has raised us up,
Our triumph in the storm.
For all that You have done for us,
For every battle won,
We’ll raise a song to bless Your heart
For all that You have done.