While modern Israel follows the Georgian Calendar as we do, nevertheless God instructed them to mark the beginning of the year with the remembrance of liberation from slavery is a great way to start any year. This instruction, it seems to me, was not so focussed on counting years but ensuring that they began their year acknowledging of God’s saving action on their behalf. God wanted them to remember where they had come from as they began a new year.
This not only served to be a constant reminder of God’s miraculous rescue, but it caused them to look at the future through the lens of the past. Every time they began a New Year by remembering the past it refocussed the future in the light of God’s action in the past.
It is the same for us. As we begin each New Year we can do more than make another set of New Year’s resolutions, we can also stop to remember our past. And then when we begin to think of the year head it will be reframed by our insights, gratitude and thanks for God’s action in the past.
To forget the past it is bit like losing an anchor. Any individual, community or nation will begin to drift if the begin to forget
thesacrifices made by those who have gone before them to establish the life they now enjoy. Once adrift it doesn’t take long before hard won freedoms begin to be taken granted.
In the same way that remembering their past has sustained Israelis through thousands of years of history, Christians have also done similar things for centuries. We remember our wedding vows to help us focus on our commitment. We remember the birth of Christ at Christmas to deepen our worship, we remember the resurrection of Christ that gives us hope whenever we are faced with the death of a loved one. We follow Jesus’ command to eat and drink regularly in remembrance of him and his sacrifice for us. We do this not only in obedience but to sustain us so that don’t forget our spiritual roots and begin drifting away from our Lord.
As we begin this New Year is good to look back and remember the goodness of God in the past. In looking back, we are much better prepared for whatever we may face in the year ahead.
Stephen L Baxter