Celebrating Insanity

Posted on · Posted in Culture, Gospel, Holidays

At midnight tonight, January 1st, most of the world will celebrate insanity.




There is a popular definition for insanity that is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and others. It goes like this:


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 


Times Square will be filled with people who watch a crystal ball descend as midnight approaches. Millions more watch on television. When the ball ends its journey a massive celebration erupts. People will be excited about the promise of a new calendar year. They hope the disappointments of the previous year will be replaced by better times in the new year. 


People believe a change in the calendar can bring a change in fortune, or relationships, or happiness, or health. But after the celebrations, morning comes again. The challenges in life remain as daunting as ever. As Christians, the New Year offers an opportunity to talk about change that is not rooted in insanity or false expectations. 


Apart from the renewal that can only come from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ the new year will be just like the old one – another exercise of insanity. Just because people mired in conflict with God gather in a large champaign-toasted celebration does not mean there will be renewal and redemption.  People believe they can make things better by their own effort and will. But, what promised to be new quickly becomes old again. 


May God grant that we would have compassion for those deceived by the false hope of a happy new year. Believing that things will get better apart from Christ is a cruel deception. It truly is an exercise in futility. Even if bank accounts grow or fortunes appear to improve, the relief this provides is short-lived. 


Happy New Year can be a wonderful greeting if we point people to the real reason for happiness.


Help your children to grasp that hope for being made new is only found in Christ. Only he can take what is old, corrupt, and deceitful and make it new. No celebration, no matter how large it is, can change this truth. Pray that we will find ways to show those around us the emptiness of trusting in a change of the calendar. Point them to Christ, who alone, can make what is old into something new. Help stop the insanity.


You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24


Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.