Scripture Focus: Revelation 22.3, 17
No longer will there be any curse….The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Reflection: New Year, New Adam, New Creation
By John Tillman

In recent times, many have cursed outgoing years for their sufferings. 2019 was blamed for much. 2020 was blamed for more. 2021 will get its share of curses and blame.

Traditionally, a new year inspires hope. This doesn’t seem as true anymore. When our traumatized culture looks to the new year, anticipation is often tainted with trepidation. It’s easy to see why. When one has been burned so often, warm feelings about the future are fleeting.

Traditional images of New Year celebrations include the old year, personified by an old man, (Sometimes called “Father Time”) and the new year, by a baby. The baby brings the incoming blessings of the new year and the old man carries the old year’s curses to the grave.

Baby New Year represents hope for the future. However, just like 2020 and 2021 failed to prove much better than 2019, a new generation is unlikely to prove much better than the last. We tend to get stuck in the sins of our forefathers rather than free ourselves from them. Short of a miracle, one year, or one generation can’t reverse the mistakes of the past.

Christians do, however, hope in a miraculous child. Better than a baby new year, Jesus is a new Adam. All creation will be renewed in him. In Jesus, we find a baby who is able to redeem his forefathers, a child who is able to lead reborn children of God, and a king who is able to overturn the wrongs of prior kingdoms.

The old years don’t really deserve cursing but our old selves do. The years weren’t the problem. We were—and are. We have carried out our own curse since Eden, however, God stands ready to reverse it. Neither the year nor those who lived through it are cursed if we are in Christ.

Christ takes our curse in himself and births in us a new self that owes no debt to sin and no death to the grave. The new Adam makes us new creations. Our “old man” is not killed and replaced so much as renewed and reinvigorated with living water that gives life forevermore.

As we enter the new year, rather than curse the past, let us bless the future. Let us drink freely of, and offer to the world “the free gift of the water of life.”

Image: Father Time and Baby New Year from Postcard, 1909 (Public Domain)

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me. — Psalm 70.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.Today’s Readings
2 Chronicles 36 (Listen – 4:26) 
Revelation 22 (Listen – 3:59)

From John: In this new year, we are tweaking our reading plan. We will still read all of the same books as are typically in our “even year” plan. However, we will read them in a roughly chronological order. We will not jump around from book to book (many books are written in overlapping times) but we will read them in an order that is as close to chronological order without breaking the books up. Readers have expressed interest in this and we are looking forward to seeing scriptures fall at new times of the year and becoming more familiar with how the writers of scripture depended on one another and finding new connections as we read in this manner. We will work on a graphic of the new reading plans over the next couple of months and will provide it when it is available. Thank you for your readership and for your prayer and financial support! Happy New Year!

This Weekend’s Readings
Job 1 (Listen – 3:38) Psalm 1-2 (Listen – 2:05)
Job 2 (Listen – 2:11) Psalm 3-4 (Listen – 1:56)

Read more about Supporting our Work
Your support this year enabled us to bless ministry students with scholarships. One of our student writers, Karen from Saint Louis says, “Getting to know John and some of the guest writers was a great encouragement. The monetary gift was an unexpected cherry on top. Thank you for your support and for your vision to encourage seminary students in our pursuit of God’s calling for our lives.”

Read more about The Curse Reversed
In the curse of Eden, God commits himself to a course of intervention on our behalf. The curse is made to be broken.