When New Years come, they seem to come suddenly. New Year comes always as a surprise, with nary a warning; then raising its head, forcing itself upon our minds a day after Christmas, it sings the dirge. Death as yet undefeated. The winter kills a tender reed. We reflect upon it for less than a week, and recognize if briefly, New Year upon New Years’ nearly imperceptible creeping of Time: Time the thief, Time the Blighter, Time O Most Unmerciful. Then we do it again like nothing happened.
People sometimes regret their fading memories, but in fact the sum of them would probably kill an elephant. It wasn’t only sin that severed spirit from this world—not one sin or a million collected the whole world over. Remember it was on that day when the children of Adam learned of good and evil, that man and woman entered into finite time and generations began to live and die. No it was the sum total of sin and error across all time and space, which the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself and obliterated when He rose again. On the cross Jesus felt as if His Father God had forsaken him, and in a single moment of finite time it may very well be, because God doth not behold death (because He cannot die), nor existential Sin (because He is pure and perfect). God brought man to the portal nevertheless, even to the eye of a needle through which we may enter in with Christ, into the glorious Kingdom of Heaven.
The Godhead resides outside (as well as inside) time. Not so with us. With Him there are no solar “New Years.” All things are always New and fresh and equally Old and true, and also Wonderful. We count our years on earth because we haven’t very many. The wise make use of their time. The foolish squander it. If you ask me what life is, I will tell you that it is only time. Every New Year turning is like a bell that says your wash is almost done or the goose nearly cooked. Dust becomes dust, whether you exercise it, medicate it, intoxicate it or pretend it doesn’t exist. One might be very angry, or grateful, that God gives us so little time.
The impact upon men’s and women’s minds of thinking past time and beyond a single solar New Year is fundamental to reason and to accumulated knowledge, and indeed to civilization itself. This ability to think past finite time entails learning history among other subjects, but it critically involves learning His Story. That is because thinking past time is inherent to a reverence for and/or even the mere reference to God. There is nothing else can take His Place in our hearts or in thinking. The People of these United States have erred terribly to try and extinguish His presence from public schools and the public square. They have sinned in accepting and abetting the restrictions on freedom chiefly brought about for this purpose.
Minds without the ballast of God are easily wrecked. They fall victim to storms and madness. They substitute greedily almost every other god to fill the intellectual and the moral void. Such minds accept respective conditions of slavery, because they can never adequately measure the price or the joys of freedom: whether slavery to the will of other men and governments, or addictions to material substances, or release to the sucking hold of a psychological pit—all in order to relieve the pain of life in temporal finite time, and to escape the haunting at every New Year.
I tell you that there is another way to view things, and it puts it on the line as it must be put. Maybe the world ends at the stroke of midnight tonight, or maybe not until December 21, 2012 or any other date that you prefer. Maybe it never ends, but even scientists say that the sun will burn out someday. To tell the truth the point is that you are supposed to live in this world but with a fundamental reference outside of it. That’s what it means to live in but not of the world. Do your best—sure, but also live outside of finite time the way our Lord instructed. That’s a big part of what it means to have that mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus (ex: I Corinthians 2:16). If you do this then you are and will be a potent force for good in the world. If you don’t then you are like the chaff or worse like chattel, particularly in this day and age of decay and omnipotent secular federal government. Oh yeah, the physical realm is still a dust to dust proposition but with a difference. You can leave your signature, you can make your mark; right wrongs and injustices, give evil a hard time; win one for the Gipper, and glorify God—this New Year, and the next, and the next after Next.
Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary and is currently Chairman of the Central Texas Tea Party. Email: Wes@WesRiddle.com.