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Holiday Reflection – The Old Man

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Although some of the customs differed from my own and my family was far away, I enjoyed the holiday season when I lived in Ecuador. Christmas was fairly similar to our own as Christ’s birth was most definitely celebrated, but New Year’s Eve held a different tradition that I really loved.

During my first holiday season there I saw what I thought was an old person sitting in front of several homes. I had not noticed anyone being there before. Upon taking a closer second look I realized that what I misconstrued as a real person was just a homemade character similar to a scarecrow.

It did not take me long to learn about the tradition of the “Old Man” as they called it. The “Old Man” represented the old year. People stuffed a shirt and pants with newspapers, straw, or whatever they could find to make the shape of a person. They also added pieces of paper with thoughts about the passing year. Some included fireworks for extra effect.

On New Year’s Eve each family or group of people lit their “Old Man” on fire and watched it burn up as a symbol of putting the past behind them. Like the old man, the past had been used up. The time had arrived to look forward to the new that the coming year would bring.

I embraced the burning of the old man wholeheartedly and enjoyed participating in it. To me it not only symbolized a new year, but also what happens when Christ comes in to a person’s life. The old humanistic person is replaced by the Holy Spirit and a new Christ like character.

The believer can then look forward to a new life ahead with Christ as the center.  Anticipation of a relationship with God during the rest of our physical life on earth and also of our heavenly home present with Him forever gives us plenty to celebrate.

Our old life, just like the burned up old man, is gone. Our sins forgiven, we are new.

Father, thank you for salvation. Thank you for giving us a living breathing relationship with You for now and for forever.

Susan P.

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