As we pause on the edge of a New Year, I hold stubbornly to the conviction that every year is still A. D. regardless of what a politically correct culture asserts. Please don’t get me wrong. This is not an excuse to be rude to non-Christians (friend or otherwise). Our times may be properly labeled C. E. for Common Era; but significantly, in our heart of hearts, Christians need to hold to a theological conviction at every year since the birth of Christ is A. D. – “In the Year of our Lord.”
Wikipedia says: “The terms anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and before Christ (BC or B.C.) are used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The term anno Domini is Medieval Latin, which means in the year of the Lord but is often translated as in the year of our Lord. It is occasionally set out more fully as anno Domini nostri Iesu (or Jesu) Christi. (“in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What is at stake is no more nor less than the conviction that this year – 2017 – belongs to Christ for those of us who claim to be Christian! Carefully understand what I am saying. Be polite and gracious. It is acceptable to use C.E. or Common Era when dealing with a wider secular audience. There is nothing wrong with such courtesy. There must remain however a towering conviction that must hold in our hearts and minds! For us, this year and every year is the year of our Lord! Our life, our year, belongs to Jesus as Lord! It is at His and His name only that our knee bows (Philippians 2:10-11).
This unshakable conviction that 2017 is the “Year of Our Lord” is an anchor in the storms of life that even now crash over us. I often find myself at the opening of a New Year going back to a famous poem and even more to its reading on the radio.
In1939, King George VI of England broadcast a Christmas Day message to the British Empire heard around the world. He ended it by quoting an obscure poet named Minnie Louise Haskins. Twenty-five years earlier, she had privately published a book of verses called The Desert. Originally entitled “God Knows,” the more popular name is “The Gate of the Year.” The words catch the essence of those wise men who journeyed across the desert following the light to worship the newborn Savior. They invite and challenge us to start our new year on the same journey.
God Knows [The Gate of the Year]
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.