It also means that I’m reaching the top end of my years.
At nine months, my granddaughter’s years are just beginning; the future is rising before her. Yes, there’s a younger generation winding up, pressing forward and pushing upward, getting ready to take on the world.
Meanwhile my generation desperately grasps at anything promising to preserve one’s youth. There is to be no aging gracefully for us. Our life’s strategy is to think young, act young, look young, and be young for as long as one possibly can in a desperate attempt to stave off aging and ignore the inevitable need to come to terms with one’s mortality. We refuse to age at all! Not if we can help it.
Indeed, says the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:11), God put eternity in our hearts. Though our bodies are time bound, space bound, limited and finite, our hearts and minds reach beyond such limitations. The earth, and all its accoutrements, is not big enough to hold our dreams and aspirations. We want more than hourglass living. We want life without limit, we want eternity!
Jesus prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:1-3, my emphasis.)
Biblical eternal life is not simply a reference to a life-time without end. It is significantly relational, connected-living forever with God (“quality time”), in Christ. It is not preserving or extending one’s mortality to the max; it is being transformed from mortality into immortality to live in the presence of God, to enjoy His glory and all that such fellowship with God entails. It is not aging gracefully it is grace-filled agelessness. It is the reason why God put eternity in our hearts in the first place.
How then should we approach a New Year and the inevitable mark of time upon our aging lives? Here are some suggestions.
- Live with an eternal focus in mind. Have an eternal perspective. And, from that perspective, deal with the immediate and temporal in light of the eternal. Life does not end at the point of death. It is but the passageway into the eternal.
- Accept your present mortal condition as such, so as to die with dignity when the time comes. In other words, do not extend the dying process unnecessarily by attempting drastic but useless resuscitation efforts of the mortal/dying body.
- Embrace God’s mercy and grace upon your soul and acknowledge your dependency and need of God for your life’s spirit. You are all too familiar with your imperfections, faults, failures, and shortcomings. This is why we need a Savior and why Christ the Messiah, was sent to us as Lord and Savior of humanity. Remember that the absolute power of life over death is in God’s hand, not ours. So let God be God and run toward God, not away from God.
- And finally, count your time here on earth qualitatively not quantitatively. The truth is, living a few short years on earth, with love and faith and trust in God, is far better and richer than living a long life with a hardened and bitter evil heart—in the face of its eternal consequence.
And so may you all have a blessed and grace-filled HAPPY NEW YEAR!