I see an incredible amount of “old stuff being made new” these days. A new Star Wars TV show and movie, superheroes on my screens, ET is back in a commercial and both Captain Picard and the Ghostbuster car return next year. Strawberry Shortcake and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are popular again. Indiana Jones will continue his adventures in 2021 as will The Matrix and a Home Alone remake. This return to my childhood is nostalgic and fun in some ways, remembering the good, old days of youth, but too much nostalgia isn’t helpful. I am longing for something more.
There are good times to remember and recall. Weddings and birthday parties and children being born. Celebrations. Staying up late to watch a basketball game with grandpa. There’s nothing wrong with remembering, God wants us to enjoy the blessings of life and why not remember the best of times? God Himself is a God who remembers His covenant, His promises, His people. Remembering leads to rejoicing and hope. It provides understanding and learning. We confront who we were and grow from there. Don’t stop remembering.
But what are we remembering? We are to remember Him, His Words, His acts in the past, His commands, even His wrath. I remember how He met me in times of need. He was (and is) a shepherd and strong foundation. God said to remember and rejoice in Him. Remember the wife of your youth. Remember the Lord when you sit down and rise up, coming and going from your home. This season we remember the child born in the manger, Christ the Lord. Every time we take communion we remember His death and resurrection for our sin. Remember what counts.
Why remember the trivial and fantasy? You can’t live in the past. Too much nostalgia paralyzes and stunts growth. It’s time to grow up and move on. Press on and strain forward to the goal. You can’t stay a child forever. Endless toys and superheroes and sci-fi won’t nourish nor sustain you. Jared Wilson writes, “The past is a nice place to visit but a terrible place to live.” Paul was forgetting what was behind him and looking forward to what lies ahead. He encouraged the Philippians in chapter 3:13-16, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” Enjoy some nostalgia and times of joy in the past, but keep in mind these memories won’t satisfy or sustain you. Praise God for remembering the good times, but our hope is still before us.