Is anybody else having trouble believing 2007 is gone? There's really should be laws against Father Time speeding like this. It's amazing to think of all that has happened in this last year. This time 365 days ago, I was in an entirely different state, with very different responsibilities, and slightly whiter weather. So much has changed, so much has happened. I'm sure each of you feels the same for your own reasons.
New Years' usually becomes a very self-reflective time for me, evaluating the victories and failings of the previous year, and making plans for the next. And yes, New Years' resolutions of various kinds. At some point towards the end of the year, I was looking at areas of my life I wanted to improve in. The mistakes I had made weighed on me, and I found myself wanting to just shut-down the rest of the year, and get a fresh start in 2008. It's silly, I know, but I was overwhelmed with how many ways I had messed-up in the year behind. Expectations of myself I had not lived up to. And it truly grieved me.
The prophet Jeremiah once faced things which gave him similar grief. Especially as he saw how the Lord had disciplined him for his own sins and faults, felt a heavy weight upon him. His inner turmoil is recorded in Lamentations 3. Look especially at verses 20-23, and how things turn around for him.
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Christian singer Carolyn Arends put it this way:
I buy a lot of diaries
Fill them full of good intentions
Each and every New Year's Eve
I make myself a list
All the things I'm gonna change
Until January 2nd
So this time I'm making one promise
This will be my resolution
Every day is New Year's Day
With God, every new morning is a new chance to make things right. When we look a thoughts of long-term change, it can be very scary. Yet when we look at each day as a new chance to follow God, to overcome temptation, to make a difference in the lives of others, to love everyone around us with an amazing self-sacrificing love, it becomes a little more manageable. We will mess-up from time to time. But if you are willing to repent and ask forgiveness, each day with God can be a fresh start.
The year of our Lord 2008 is rife with possibilities. You get 366 new mornings this year (one more than last year!). 366 new days to wake up and say “Today, I will live my utmost for God.” 366 new days to get it right. 366 new days to loose weight, or call your parents more, or spend more time with your kids, or write that novel, or blog consistently ; ), or to give your all to God. How are you going to use this next morning? And the next one? Enjoy the opportunities. They are God's present to you.
Happy New Years!