The Spiritual Significance of a New Year
The beginning of a new year, like all the visible and physical things created by God in the universe, has a spiritual significance. Behind everything that is visible and physical, there is something that is invisible and spiritual.
In Genesis 1:14 we see that God created the light-bearers (the sun and the moon), for sings, for seasons, and for days and years. Days, months, and years, as well as seasons, are depictions of things that pertain to God. The sun and the moon are mere symbols, outward forms, but the inner reality is Christ. People can truly touch light only when they touch Christ! Days, months, years, and seasons are symbols that have a mysterious content, which is Christ Himself.
Colossians 2:16-17 "Let no one therefore judge you in eating and in drinking or in respect of a feast or of a new moon or of the Sabbath, which are a shadow of the things to come, but the body is of Christ."
Why did God order the universe according to days, months, and years? God has ordained it this way for the existence and growth of living things. If the time span of the universe consisted of one long day, there would be only one opportunity for life to exist and grow. Thankfully, God has prepared and ordained numerous opportunities in the universe, not just one opportunity. If we experience a failure during one year, there will be another year. If our work is not successful last year, we can start again this year. The opportunity for a new beginning is related to God's good pleasure.
In God's arrangement we have opportunities not only from one year to the next but also from one month to the next. Furthermore, God gives us opportunities also day after day. It is truly wonderful that we have a new opportunity every twenty-four hours. If we do not do well today, we can start again tomorrow. Days, months, and years are truly meaningful.
All these outward matters speak of spiritual matters. God is our sun and our light-bearer. We depend on Him for our existence and for our growth in life. He is constantly presenting us with opportunities to grow in life. Being defeated in a certain matter does not mean that we will have no further opportunities to overcome. God gives us new opportunities every day, every month and every year.
In our spiritual life we have spiritual days, months, and years. In the Old Testament God charged the children of Israel to keep the passover before leaving Egypt. This was a great beginning. He wanted them to consider the month of Abib, the first month, to be the beginning of moths, the first of the months of the year (Exo. 12:1-2; 34:18). The Israelites kept the passover as a new beginning, a great beginning. Because of this beginning, they were able to serve God. The book of Numbers also speaks of “the beginnings of your months,” which refers to times set according to new moons (10:10; 28:11). God also required the Israelites to worship daily in the morning and at night (Lev. 6:9, 12). The days, months, and years of the Israelites were full of spiritual significance. When we are saved, we experience the reality of the passover, which is a great and new beginning. Thereafter, God desires that we have a new beginning every month and even a new beginning every day.
At the end of the year and at the beginning of a new year, we should review our spiritual account before God. We need to go before God and settle the accounts related to our spiritual condition. We need to consider before the Lord how we have spent our time and the things in which we failed and in which we overcame. We need to consider the areas in which we responded to the Lord’s demands and in which we rejected the Lord’s will. We need to bring our spiritual condition before the Lord in order to settle accounts and have a proper clearance so that we can have a new beginning.
Every change in our spiritual experience involves light, whether it is a great change like a new year, a lesser change like a month, or a small change like a day. Whenever we encounter light, there is a change. When we met God, who is light (1 John 1:5), there was a change. When we met Christ, who is God and who is light (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46), there was a change. God in Christ is our light-bearer. Without the sun, there are no days or years, and without the moon, there are no months. Likewise, if a person does not encounter God in Christ, there will be no spiritual change, either great or small. Every change in our spiritual condition depends upon meeting God.
In order to have a new spiritual year, we need to specifically seek God’s face and meet Him. We should bring our condition, past and present, to Him and place it before Him in the light of His face in order to receive His shining. He is seeking us and awaiting for us. We should open ourselves to Him. We need to spend some time in the presence of God, presenting our past and present condition to Him and allowing Him to shine on us. When we encounter God in Christ as the Spirit coming to us as light, we will have a new beginning. If we want to have changes, we must meet God.
Philippians 3:13 "Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before."
On the first day of a new year we should realize that the previous year is behind us and that a new year, a new beginning, is before us. The former things have passed away, and all things should be new. In the light of the Lord, our former weaknesses, failures, and mistakes will come to an end, and we need not bring them with us. With a new year we can have a new beginning, a good beginning, starting in resurrection. The meaning of the changing of days, months, and years is related to encountering God as light and to experiencing death and resurrection. We need to meet God, and we need an ending and a new beginning. We should not remain in our old experiences, whether good or bad, because both the good and the bad have been terminated so that we can begin anew.