By Allen Teal, Chaplain
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. (Isaiah 61:1-2, NIV).
Christmas and New Year’s Day link together in our minds. Two of the biggest holidays on the calendar fall one week apart but in two different years. One is the final annual holiday of one year. The other is the first holiday of the next.
Christ becomes a transition from old to new.
The moment of his birth marks the line between the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. It also opens the doorway that leads from the Law to Grace. This is the time when God made a way for forgiving personal sins. This changes one’s old life into a new life.
The birth of Christ brings good news.
Those whom darkness and sin have made prisoners can find a new life and freedom in Christ. The word “gospel” means good news. The proclamation of salvation through Christ is the ultimate good news. He is the gift that God gave to the world. Christmas is a time of gift giving as we recognize God’s great gift to us.
January 1 gives the opportunity to start fresh.
After the rejoicing of Christmas, the blank slate of a new year makes the ideal time to start implementing the changes for a new life. Although many resolutions fall by the wayside, their importance remains. We need points in life where we draw a line to divide old behaviors from new ones. Without them, change will never happen.
As Christmas comes and the New Year follows, find joy in the gift of God’s Son and the gift of completing another year. Take time to look forward to the coming New Year and prepare for the changes it may bring. May it be for you “A year of the Lord’s favor.”