Friday, January 1, 2010

all things new

out with the old... and in with the new.  really? is that truly what we seek come december 31st?  why is it that on new year's eve we are so drawn to the words old and new. endings and beginnings.  not just drawn to them, but mesmerized by the sound of them. no matter how practical our nature, we find ourselves cast under the spell of their newsprint promise.  we spend our final days of the year chewing up these words as if they were verbal cud. turning them over in our mouths and minds and eagerly spitting them out at each other in agreement.  it seems the older i get, the more this holds true. perhaps i am just closer to old and the desire for new grows more and more desperate - a theory which we can debate another time.  in a generation which can barely stand still long enough to ponder anything, we, in a mass collaborative effort, rebel for just one reflective moment at the stroke of midnight.  

as if this midnight has something to do with it.  as if this midnight holds the power to change a lavish stagecoach back into a pumpkin and return a princess to her peasant girl status. as if there is a fairy godmother holding the great treasured clock of all time in her fantastical hands.  as if she is listening intently to our reflections and regrets and resolutions. as if this grandmotherly fairy and her sage, accomplice, father time, plot secretly together for our good.  this stroke of midnight is nothing if not a stroke of genius.  if we could shake the wishes from our heads and the cliches from our writing, we would know deeply the power of this moment is a mere fairytale. but then again, perhaps we are all, on occasion, in need of a little fairytale. we have, afterall, created an entire holiday explicitly for this purpose.  we make much of it. we have teams of people designing cocktail napkins and matching party hats.  noisemakers are tested in quiet rooms and champagne is bottled and labled with the celebratory year.  cheese dip and  sparklers, and even sparkly clothing combine together for this one enchanted evening. 

i know this desire quite well. i am a girl with an extraordinary embrace for fairytales.  i, too, can fall  effortlessly into the hypnotic lull of a good story. i have, on more than one occasion, wept simply because the final chapter in a captivating novel, has come to a close.   friends and family, alike, have dubbed me as a girl wearing rose-colored glasses...a girl who views things with bright eyes.  i am certain i've crossed paths with a critic or two wishing to dunk my ponytailed head in a good dose of reality.  but i also wish that with a quick scribble on a list, i might change old habits, create healthy ones and thus improve the line of my horizon.  i would like to believe that with some exceptional resolve, a resolute spirit and a large glass of champagne i will begin afresh.  anew.  aright.   oh, friends, that sounds not only delightful,  it sounds downright necessary.  don't we all deserve this chance regardless of our past year, our past mistakes, our past failures. our past... in general.

funny that most of us spend our days fighting with this elusive friend, this thing called time.  there's either never enough or perhaps, for some of us, too much.  regardless, most of us tend to contentiously argue our way through it.  and yet, it is the thing in which we are quite willing to place great trust come the year's end.  do we seriously believe that a date on a calendar is worthy of our fear and trembling? the truth is, we are desperately in need of the new.  we all, each one of us, are created to shed the old.  it is how we are made.  it is a beautiful thing.  a necessary thing.  it is a need woven so deeply within us, we cannot ignore it for very long.  it will resurface, if only every new year's eve.  it will.  no one can escape this need to peel off the layers of our onion-skinned selves.  

but, undoubtedly, we look to the wrong things.  we look to the fairytale and all the actors and devices she employs.  we look to these things and find as believable as they seem when the curtain is up and the lights are on, they fade away by the show's final call.  they present themselves in glitter and glory and keep us distracted from our very need. they keep us searching on the glossy surface.  keep us rummaging through the glitter...and missing the truth.  our glitter-ful hands will, ultimately, be left clutching only dust.  our distractions will drown us in the weight of their shimmer.
this new year's eve, enjoy the glitter.  enjoy the sparkle and the sparklers.  flirt with father time and befriend your fairy godmother.  but know that these things will pass.  their wisdom and their glory and their glitter will crumble.  the champagne bubbles will flatten, the sequins will loosen, and the noisemakers will (hopefully) quiet. know this.

know also, it is the simple, quiet Jesus who comes wearing nothing sparkly, who comes with no fireworks to announce His presence, who comes to bring the new.   He needs no oversized disco ball or gigantic peach to drop when He declares His do-overs. He chants no clever bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, but, He has promised, "I make all things new."  His dusty, rough carpenter's hands do not wield a fairy wand, but they do hold the answer to our new beginnings...our fresh start. He came as a newborn babe and was laid in a most un-glitzy manger.  there was no glitter or gold to be found anywhere in that lowly stable.  the sheep most certainly did not shimmer and no one danced in the streets of bethlehem.  the only ball that dropped was joseph's failure to call ahead for a room.  and yet, this simple babe, held in His hand the very power to send out the old and bring in the new. though often inconceivable and unbelievably miraculous, i assure you, it is not a fairytale.

      "therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
 the old has gone and the new has come."  ~ 2 corinthians 5:17.

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