I awoke yesterday morning, as did most of the world, to a new page on the calendar. A fresh start. A series of wide-open opportunities.
And I also awoke to a social media full of friends bidding farewell and good riddance to a "terrible" year and looking forward with all of the hope and optimism they could muster for a new one.
It struck me how profoundly so many of us are looking for an opportunity to start over, to make new choices, to try again, to take a different path, to achieve new victories, to win new wars. To breathe again.
As I sat for a few moments and reflected on this, it also struck me:
God already planned for this.
He called it the Jubilee.
Jubilee is an Old Testament idea, although it is referenced a few times indirectly through the events of the New Testament. It is the idea that after every seventh seventh year (so every 50 years or so), everything just resets. Slaves are set free. Land is restored to its proper ownership. Everything you borrowed gets returned, and everything taken from you comes back. Your life defaults to its baseline of operations, the slate is wiped clean, debts disappear, and you get to truly start over and take a different path.
Whatever troubles you've had, overcome. Whatever struggles you've had, forgotten. Whatever missteps you made, forgiven. Everything, all at once, becomes new all over again.
Factory reset, if you will.
This is the story - the heritage - that we, as a people of God, have been sitting on for thousands of years. Most of us don't celebrate the Jubilee the way they used to, the way the Old Testament Hebrews would have, but it's in our heritage. And more than that, it's become full in our story, in the story of Christ.
Christ makes all things new again. He is the Jubilee.
And as I sat and reflected on how much the world is longing for this kind of thing, I wondered why it is that we who hold this story let the world think it all boils down to some artificial number, some digit that we created, on a page that we printed and that we'll print again. I wondered why we have let the world think it all comes down to one simple ticking of the second hand on the clock. I wondered why we have let the world believe it gets one chance at this in 31,536,000 and that if they miss it or if they mess it up, they have to wait until it rolls around again to start all over.
No, friends. We hold a story that says you can start all over with any breath, at any moment, at any second. We hold a story that lives in the shadow not of a giant ball covered in diamonds, but in a giant stone rolled away from a tomb. A story that says this is your moment, your Jubilee, in whatever breath you want to take it.
And if you miss it? If you mess it up? Take that breath again. You don't have to wait.
Every year, the world watches and waits for this moment, for this chance to be set free, for this opportunity to start over. Every year, the world longs for Jubilee. And you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief when that second hand ticks away, when that page turns, when everyone feels like maybe they can breathe a little again. When the whole world is filled with hope - even more at this moment, sadly, than at the one in which Hope Himself became flesh.
But we, the people of God, have that Hope in the flesh. We have it right now, and we don't have to wait for it.
And I was just thinking...as much as we know the world is longing for this, what can we do to help them have it? Not just when the page turns, not just when the clock ticks, but with every new breath they draw?
This year, I'm thinking about how this story I hold can set the world free....and I'm thinking about how I can help give it to them.