I was walking to the mall a couple of weeks ago, on my Secret Santa mission. As I walked, I listened with half an ear through my earphones to whatever I had playing on my phone. As I walked, my mind drifted and somehow I ended up thinking about the new year.
January is such a different month from every other month of the year, isn’t it? Think about it. If it’s June and you’re thinking about something that’s happening in July, don’t you think of it as, “next month”? But if it’s December and you’re thinking about something that’s happening in January, don’t you think of it as, “in the new year”? This was exactly the thought that occurred to me as I walked that had me contemplating January.
There’s something promising about January, isn’t there? It’s all that newness and optimism. Difficult things seem possible in January. I’m not talking about new year’s resolutions; I abhor those and never make them. I’m talking about old ideas and desires that may have previously run out of steam being reborn with new enthusiasm because it’s January. I’m talking about new ideas being born of long-time desires that suddenly come to the fore because it’s January. I’m talking about that sense of courage to want new and different things and the energy to resolve to at least give it a shot, just because it’s January.
Of course, by the time it gets to late January, it’s like any other month but early January is magical for its promise and potential.
I think the idea of January is much like how God intended every single day of the year to be. His mercies are new every morning, aren’t they? Every single day, He gives us a chance to start fresh; to be different, better than we were the day before; to put aside past mistakes and make things right. Every single day when we wake up, He gives us a new chance to put our dreams into motion; to exercise the gifts and talents that He’s bestowed upon us in ways that help people; to experience satisfaction and joy because we’re living the lives He always meant for us to live. Every single day, just by waking us up He tells us that it’s not too late, that until we’re dead and gone, it’s never too late.
My message today is not long. It’s a simple charge. Today, on this shiny new year day, why don’t you make a decision to do something different this year? Something you’ve ever done before. Let go of an old hurt, forgive someone (for real this time), take a trip, begin the journey of turning a long-held dream into reality. Time is ticking away and there isn’t a precious second to be wasted of this brand new year. Decide to do it. Then get it done.
Happy January. And Happy New Year.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies, they never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning.
Great is thy faithfulness, oh Lord!
Great is thy faithfulness.
(Worship song based on Lamentations 3:22-23)