The Old and the New

 
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Come, let’s talk this over! says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich!” 
(Isaiah 1:18, 19, TLB)

The old year has now gone;
It lies spread out behind us like some old page,
Dog-eared and smudged by inky blots.
And now it’s past, it’s added one year to our age.
What has this year taught us?
Are we any wiser for the passing of the time?
Has our life improved this year?
Or do we pray despairingly—Dear Lord,
Forgive me, but you see, I’m really past my prime.

But then the New Year opens up before us.
There it is—stretching out from where we stand—
Snow white, unspoiled by any of our clumsy deeds,
And Jesus reaches out to take us by the hand,
To lead us on our way if only we will go
The way that He is guiding—by His Word.
“Victory is yours; I’ve won it for you,”
His voice so soft it barely can be heard.

So by faith we put our hand in His
And step out bravely into this New Year.
Treading on the unspoiled page,
We press forward eagerly with neither sigh nor tear.
Glancing back, we see the smudgy ink-blots have all gone
From that dirty, worn-out page from whence we came—
Stretched out there behind us—by His grace.
Now we see that both years look the same.

– Reuben Hope