Sermon Illustrations

Almost every culture has a New Year’s celebration. The ancient Romans celebrated the new year with the birth of Janus, the two faced god who could look back into the past and forward into the future. They exchanged gifts, not because they were overjoyed with each other, but as a method of bribery so that your friends would forgive you for the stuff that you had done wrong that past year. Chinese New Year is typically celebrated with fireworks to scare off evil spirits from years past, so that you can start your New Year with a fresh start. Judaism celebrates Rosh Hashannah, the “head of the year,” and then looks for forgiveness on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, one week into that New Year.

And Christianity? Well, we haven’t had much to say about the New Year except for the fact that we decided that the Gregorian calendar was the way to go and that January 1st would be our New Year. We have no special mythic beliefs that are strictly Christian, that all Christians celebrate.

But we do have a New Year. It’s just that it doesn’t necessarily happen on January 1st every year. It happens in our lives daily, and yet at the same time we’re looking for it to happen in our lives in one grand celebration of Jesus’ return and the beginning of a year that will end all years – shuffling us into eternity.