2024 New Year’s Day Message

A New Year’s Day Message from Moderator Designate Rev. Callum Macleod.

As we enter the New Year, seven days after the celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, we close the door on the past and step into the unknown. The next chapter in our life story will be written by the ink of what we do with Jesus and by the decisions and the choices we make.   

Let us make the New year a time for reflecting. We remember times of joy and times of sadness, so engraved in our minds, that nothing will ever remove them. We will smile and we will cry because all these moments have become part of who we are. They are truly unforgettable! Honest reflection often leads to regretting; regretting the times when we failed to say the right thing, or failed to do the right thing, or failed to respond to different people and different situations in the right way.  

Let us make the New Year a time for resolving to be better people. This is a time to press the reset button and to look to make a fresh start in all aspects of life. Jonathan Edwards, the great American preacher of the 18th century, wrote in the first of his seventy New Year resolutions – ‘I resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general.’ How much our broken, and often cruel, world would be a better place to live in if we embraced and followed through such a noble resolution?  

Let us make the New Year a time to ensure we are resting in Jesus. We struggle to find rest in a chaotic and restless world and in the storms of life. The only sure and unchangeable things are the love and grace of God. Jesus gives us a promise – “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In his resolution fifty-three, Jonathan Edwards was committed to trusting in this way – “I resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer.”  

Let us make the New Year a time for rejoicing in our God. As we rest in the salvation we have in Jesus, we rejoice that the detail of everyday life is in the hands of our God. He has promised to keep a watchful eye on us for ‘The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon the land, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year’ (Deuteronomy 11:11-12). He is the source of all good and He will never fail us. We rejoice because the salvation we have in Jesus means we have a glorious future. The Lord is our Shepherd ‘who will guide us with his counsel and afterward will receive us into glory’ (Psalm 73:24). We rejoice because the resurrection of Jesus means that the New Year does not stand on its own. Instead, it becomes part of our journey of faith into the new heavens and the new earth promised by the Word of God. 

Let’s go forward after reflection; let’s resolve to be better; let’s ensure we are resting in Jesus; and let’s rejoice in the grace and sovereignty of God!  

May God be with you and may you all have a happy and blessed New Year.  

Rev. Callum Macleod (Moderator Designate)