Why We All Need New Beginnings: Meditations From the Time In-Between
"Who dares despise the day of small things . . .?" Zechariah 4:10
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)
"I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. (Proverbs 8:17 NASB)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17
"Behold, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5 ~ Jesus.
It is December 28th and the air is cold and windy and the sky is filled with a blanket of clouds. We are in the time in-between. In between the rush and festivity of Christmas the restart of normal life with everyone participating after the New Year. Every year, I take vacation at this time of the year to reset my mind and my heart. Kids are out of school and we all take time to rest and play and be together. But, without much fanfare, I also think back on the past year and look forward to the new one. By the time the end of the year comes, I am usually pretty excited to start over and get going again, especially after what amounts to 6 weeks of "Holiday" schedule that is fun, but that also zaps my energy and creativity. By the time these days come, I am very much ready for a new beginning.
We all need new beginnings. I am not talking here about New Year's resolutions, which are mostly worthless. I mean that we need a new start. We need to wipe the slate clean (as much as possible) and start over. The concepts of grace and forgiveness speak to the new beginning that we have with God. The Resurrection tells us that there is new life breaking into this old world and it all started with Jesus. The new morning each day tells us that we can begin again with God and with ourselves. And, a new year is a restart of the rhythms of the seasons beginning with the long nights and the dormancy of winter and then bursting out in new life in the Spring.
I do not want to think about New Year's Resolutions. I simply want to think about New Year's Beginnings. Zechariah 4:10 tells us not to despise the day of small things, or small beginnings. What can I begin in a small way in January that will reframe my thinking and reposition me to receive grace from God and to participate more fruitfully in what God is doing in the world? How can I love others differently? How can I give my heart to God in new ways that could bring life and renewal to me? How can offer my body to The Lord in ways that enable me to be stronger and healthier so I can keep up better with all that comes my way?
What could I begin in the New Year that might bring needed refreshing and change? I am not talking about what I am going to do all year long. I am talking about what I can start and partake in that might change my perspective on life and bring renewal to my heart, mind, soul, and body.
We are so often bound by the past. Past sins. Past failures. Past hurts. Past disappointments. Past attempts at change that didn't lead anywhere. But, what if the past did not define us or limit us? What if each day was a new day because we know the God of Resurrection who is making all things new? What if nothing is impossible with God? Is it honoring to God to psych ourselves out before we even start anything with an internal monologue of failure and disappointment because of what has happened in the past? Is it honoring to others when we believe the worst about them and do not try new things in our relationships because other things have not worked well in the past?
As a lover of history, I can say with confidence the past is important because it gives us context and tells us where we are coming from. But, as a Christian who has encountered the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in my life, I must also say that the past does not determine the present or the future. New life is always breaking in through the Holy Spirit. We can have hope for today because of what is coming in the New Creation in the future. That Hope can manifest in our lives in all kinds of ways as we awake each day with an expectation and excitement about what God wants to do to bring renewal and life to us in the moment - and, I am not just talking about what we think of as the "spiritual" here. We can also look to renewal in our daily lives, our time, our bodies, our financial situations, and the way we order our minds and our hearts as we seek God each moment as open our hearts to experience eternal life now in various ways.
I am looking forward to new beginnings. What does God have in store for us this coming year? What can do that we cannot even ask, think, or imagine? How can we know Him better this year than we ever have before? How can we explore the depths of the love of God in ways that transform us and those we love - and those we have not even met yet? I don't know, but God does and I am excited to find out!