Funny thing about getting older is how celebrations take on a brand new look. For years and years I spent New Year’s eve drinking and partying, in a bar for the most part, just like every other lost twenty-something in the world. When you are a drinker life is defined by “the bottle that you drink” as Bon Jovi so eloquently puts it in the song “Wanted dead or alive.” After sobriety takes hold you have to mark your calender in a new way. You can’t say, “Oh yeah, that was the night we drank that fifth of tequila and you…”
Tracey and I had the privilege of being with a friend of ours to celebrate his first sober New Year’s Eve. He’s 33 years old and told us “This is the first New Year I can remember…” and I stopped him there. He said, “You’re right; I was going to say, “The first I can remember spending sober but stopping at ‘remember’ is probably true.” He and his “girlfriend” went to eat with us. Granted we were only with them for a couple hours as I think about it now I see it as the beginning of a new tradition. After all, who says New Year’s Eve has to be spent drinking and stumbling around only to have no real recollections of the celebration the next day?
While we were at the restaurant there were a few getting in “the spirit” of New Year’s early, not the Holy Spirit mind you. There were several people drinking at the bar and one lady cackled in an all but too familiar drunken way which caused us all to look at each other as if remembering when that used to be us. There is a distinct difference in the sound of drunken laughter and Holy Spirit joy and it became all too obvious, at that moment, which one we preferred. It was so good to enjoy the company of another couple who are approximately ten years younger than us as they are starting their sober, Spirit led life. It’s good to be able to enjoy food and fellowship with others with pure motives and a clear conscience.
After finishing our time together Tracey and I didn’t even see the ball drop or break open any champagne, but we did wake up this morning to a cup of coffee, time in the Word and the Sun shining through our kitchen window. I love how the Spirit of God brings peace and joy through what seems to be the smallest of things. No more needing a charge in the flesh to fight off boredom because when you are living in the Spirit there is no part of any day to be seen as ordinary.
As I thought about a new year, celebrations and resolutions what came to me is there is no time in the Spirit. You see God isn’t trapped or limited by time. Time is really just for us to mark days and months and years; because one day we will move on into a realm in which time will not matter. I don’t over emphasize the beginning of a new year so much because living in the Spirit gives us the ability to live and move in such a way that we aren’t fearful of a new year or bothered by growing older. Jesus’ statement to Martha at Lazarus’ tomb comes to mind. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
With that I’ll say, “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”