A New Day

Baptism in the Founders' Chapel

By Stephen Andrews

Jan 11, 2021

Have you ever seen so many people so anxious to put something behind them? “Good riddance!” we exclaim to a year that saw 80 million people infected by a lethal virus that was the cause of widespread unemployment, isolation, and unprecedented governmental largesse. “Don’t come back!” we holler to months of natural disaster, to fires in the west, and tropical storms in the east. “Never again!” we chant to reports of racism and police brutality. “A plague on all your houses!” we shout to all of the political agitators and conspiracy theorists that made the US presidential election such a debacle—but then we stop ourselves when we realise that that curse is now more than a figure of speech. In the world of the Facebook meme, 2020 has become The Year Which Must Not Be Named.

I too am anxious to close the chapter that was 2020. Bring on the vaccine! But I also regret that in our impulse to disparage last year, we neglect to identify those moments when 2020 was used by God to bring promise, joy, justice, and salvation. For my wife, Fawna, and me, and for a number of the staff and faculty at the College, 2020 was when we welcomed new life into the world. Indeed, among the highlights of 2020 was a baptism that happened in the Founders’ Chapel at the end of December. With masked family members clustered around the font according to provincial and ecclesial regulations, we celebrated the gift of new life in Christ. Like every baptism, it was an act of defiance. It was a sacramental declaration that death has no dominion in God’s kingdom, that God’s purposes cannot be thwarted and that even now, even in this child, God’s mission advances.

At the end of a weary 2020 and at the beginning of another journey around the sun, we long for a new day. But with the message of Christmas still ringing in our ears, let us remember that the hope we seek is not to be found in a more favourable unfolding of human events, but rather in a person. “Christ is the new day,” intone the King’s Singers in Philip Lawson’s adaptation of the secular song. At the core of our convictions and at the beginning of our own stories is the sacred narrative of a child born in the darkest times, a child heralding a new day. This child is the incarnation of the one about whom the prophet Daniel could say, “he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (2.21-22).

With Christ, every day is a new day, and in him light dwells. Let us gladly sing this aloud as we greet the New Year with all of its inevitable challenges and opportunities, successes and disappointments, sorrows and joys.

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