Today is “Good Riddance Day.” At this moment in Times Square, New York, several hundred people are arriving lugging cardboard boxes of old income tax records, mortgage papers, old music recordings, and photographs, anything that brings bad memories from 2009. They’re scrawling on slips of paper last year’s failed resolutions and the doubts and fears that keep them from believing next year can be different. Then they’ll running it all through a shredder…. “Out with the old; in with the new!” Last year at this time one man dragged a monstrous red suitcase fill with his “stuff” on the subway all the way from Brooklyn – anything to dump the old and start fresh!
“Good Riddance Day,” is sponsored by a business group called Times Square Alliance. Every year on this day The Alliance rents a five-foot-tall, beige industrial shredder and installs it in the lobby of the Times Square Information Center. They invite New York residents to haul their wreckage to the site for disposal. Their Web site urges residents to “join us in mashing a year’s worth of bad hairstyles, loathed music, fashion disasters and ill-fated romances into an unrecognizable pulp of bad Karma and negative vibes — which will then be carted off, never to be seen again.”
In 2007 one woman threw ran though a photograph of her ex-fiancé posing with his current companion. A man brought a photograph of his appendix after it was removed during an emergency operation performed last May. He tossed the picture and some medical bills into the shredder. “It’s a painful memory,” he said.
I’m sympathetic. I love the thought of a fresh start. Ram yesterday through a shredder and “presto chango,” a new life! Wouldn’t it be dandy if that’s how transformation really worked? Our western New Years, coming as it does in the dead of winter, offers a parabolic opportunity to decide for change just when things look darkest: lose weight, quit nagging, read more books, stop being a jerk. We promise ourselves what we wish to be. “Henceforth,” we vow, “things shall be different.”
But of course wishing doesn’t make it so. The “trash” of our past can’t be magically made to disappear. But that’s the wonder of the Christian message: While an industrial shredder won’t do the trick, the cross of Christ will. It’s not magic, but it is a miracle! Jesus is our true means of “good riddance.” With him I can take my “box of trash” to him and he’ll shred it to nothing.
Anyone out there need to “run 2009 through a shredder? Do you need to say “good riddance!” to some tough times, bad choices, lousy breaks, weak intentions? If so, let us know. Go public. Stake your claim and give it all to Jesus.
If it will help, write your “riddance” below. Then as you do, pray for others who are doing the same. “Out with the old; in with the new.” As Paul the Apostle puts it, “The old has passed away, the new has come!”
“God you do offer a new beginning. You offer to take away my and bury the pin your own heart of love. An industrial shredder won’t do the trick, but your commitment to give me a new start is a give you truly deliver. I take that now. I release to you the “mess” of my past and take instead a chance to begin again. In Jesus…”
I’ve written a book about this process of genuine transformation called “The Karma of Jesus.” Explore it and let me know what you think, “Good riddance… in Jesus!”