Happy New Year!

Just before I finalize all of my over-ambitious New Year’s resolutions, I would like to take a few moments to wish all of you a very happy New Year. I love new years. At the end of most years I feel drained and depressed, disappointed with how little I have been able to accomplish in the past twelve months. The new year burgeons with promise for new beginnings.

At the end of each year I try to reflect on the ways that I have developed as a person, in what ways I have grown in wisdom, understanding and grace. In all honesty, in most of the respects that count this has not been a good year. Looking back to the great goals that I had at the beginning of the year, I am ashamed to admit that almost all of them failed to arrive at fruition.

This is one of the reasons why I am so thankful for new years. Whilst some might regard the new year as relatively meaningless, merely an arbitrary division of time, the fact that time comes in cycles — evenings and mornings, weeks, months, seasons, years, generations — is surely significant. Time does not just flow inexorably onward in a purely linear manner, nor is it purely cyclical, making any possibility of genuine progress impossible. Time is more like a spiral staircase: there is both upward progression and cyclical movement.

Time has a rhythm to it and, as creatures of time, this rhythm should be important to us. Redeeming the time must, to some degree at least, involve reacquainting ourselves with the rhythm of time. We should be people who live well-punctuated lives. We should also be people whose eyes are open to recognize the larger seasons of history, to be those who see the signs of our own times.

In my experience, the proper punctuation of time is one of the hardest skills to master. It is so easy to live disjointed lives, trapped in the eddies of mere habit and to fail to make genuine progress. The New Year opens a new chapter of our lives, granting us a natural opportunity to step back and take stock, to look back at where we have come from and refocus on where we are going to. It gives us an opportunity to get into the rhythm of time again, to break old habits and take up new ones.

I hope that for each one of you, this New Year will be one that is filled with joy and that God will enable you to redeem the time that is given to you.

Now, in a complete lowering of the tone of this post, the following is a ridiculously silly video that Mark and I made a few days ago.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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4 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. John H says:

    Didn’t the new year start five Sundays ago, he asked faux-naively?

  2. Al says:


    You are quite correct. However, I like to have as many new years as possible and, within the context in which I find myself, January 1st is more of a transition point than most others.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Chinese New Year is coming up soon…

  4. Elbert says:

    Haha, that was:

    Starring: Mark
    Footwork: Alastair 😉

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