Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen
Once a year the calendar rolls over, the clocks, they reset to zero and a New Year has begun. Out with the Old, in with the New, we make our resolutions, committing ourselves to those changes, small or large, sometimes knowing how quickly we’ll end up breaking them, other times dedicating ourselves completely to living up to them. We want to be that better person, that stronger person, that person who is going to do more, be more, and what better time than New Years to be the new us?
In a sense it’s a bit interesting the way that we often view new beginnings and new starts, the way we look for them and mark them, seeking a moment that will change everything for us, a moment when it’s perhaps all going to be different for us. When life is hard or when we see something that’s wrong with ourselves, when something in our lives seems to be missing or we can’t escape this feeling like something should be different or perhaps there is something we could change to live better it’s easy to look to those moments and think, if we can just get there or if we just take that instant, that moment to dedicate ourselves to changing then it can all be different, it can all be better. Why not? After all, even when our life is at its hardest, even when it’s darkest and we are the most lost in our despair there is always a part of us that longs for more, that knows that more is out there.
That’s one of the things that makes those times of trial and tribulation all the harder, because we know we are just so far from that happiness we know can be out there, that we know other people have found, from that peace we so long for and the comfort that just seems so allusive. If we can just make it to that moment, if we can just force a change in our lives, if we can just get past that one day, if we can just make it to that one singular day that is going to change everything… If we can just get to that point we can lose that extra weight that makes us feel bad about ourselves, we can have the will power we need to quit smoking, we can start looking at the good in life and put our depression behind us, we can start making healthier choices for our lives, we can quit worrying about every problem we have… If we can only get to that new beginning we can finally put behind us everything bad, one small step at a time and just start over, start fresh, and this time it will all be different.
What we need to remember is that hope for the future, hope to change the things in our lives that we don’t like, the strength that we need to become the people that we want to be, it doesn’t come because the calendar rolls over or a New Year starts, ending the old one. Our new beginnings, our new hope, our chance at a fresh start, it comes every day of our lives, and it comes from the simple fact that, in Christ Jesus, our blessed Redeemer, who, in his great mercy, lived, died and was resurrected for us, gives us new life as he atones for our old nature (1 Peter 1:3) In Christ, in he who has reconciled us with our God, restoring us to glory, we are a new creation. (1 Corinthians 5:17) Change in our life then begins when we are willing to let go of the old, to leave our burdens at the feet of the throne of God, casting our yokes and our worries from our shoulders, understanding that, in faith, in our Heavenly Father, they have no power over us. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Fearfully and wonderfully made, (Psalm 119:14) by the hand of God, by the craftsmanship of our Heavenly Father, for His divine and holy will, for His good works, (Ephesians 2:10) He has a plan for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) It isn’t a plan that waits for a specific time or a specific day of the year, it isn’t a plan that just waits for a specific marker that goes by or that bases itself on resolutions that we make. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in our times of trouble and hardship, in those times when we want things in our lives to change, when we want things to be different in our lives, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16) Change, renewal, hope, revival of faith, the rewards of courage, the edification of grace, it doesn’t happen once a year, it doesn’t happen by setting our clocks or when the fireworks suddenly start to explode around us, it happens day by day, moment by moment in the wondrous, glorious, miraculous love that our God has for us as the Spirit draws us nearer to Him.
We can’t wait for one day, we can’t look to one day as the beginning of change in our life, not when each day is a new opportunity to do more and to be more through the love of Christ. In his blessed name we are given the chance to live every moment anew. Sometimes this is going to be harder than others, sometimes we are going to want to look forward, thinking, hoping, longing for a day when things will just get better, or when we think to ourselves right now it isn’t what we thought it was going to be, right now it isn’t what we want it to be, but that if we give ourselves a hard deadline of when we want the change by or when we want to change by it’s going to be different. It doesn’t necessarily work that way though.
That isn’t to say we shouldn’t plan or we shouldn’t expect better of ourselves or try to do better, it isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to do more or be more with ourselves and the gifts that God gives us. It’s just that if something isn’t right or isn’t working there is no magic deadline; there is no magic timeline that is going to make it right. We need to let go of what we had thought, how we had thought, of our own wisdom and understanding, and let God just take control, relinquishing it into His hands to make the change for us, while being an active participant in His divine will and design for our lives, trusting He is going to make it right when we hand it over to Him and move with Him.
Tomorrow isn’t a new year, but it is a new day and there are countless changes for your life that you can make with God, there are countless resolutions you don’t need to wait to make. There’s a whole year’s worth of days in front of you, each one new and fresh. There are countless chances to move, to change, to do, to live, to be who you need to be, and to live according to God’s will and design. During this time you can fall, but there are also countless chances to take God’s hand and be lifted, to be picked up, raised up and helped to where you need to be.
There is no need to wait. God is there to help you be the person you need to be, to be strong and powerful, to be filled with hope and strength, to live your life with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor according to the will and the design of your God. Take that chance, take that that opportunity as you have it and live your life in the power, the glory and the mercy, the abounding grace that has been intended for you. Let Christ lead you, and let the power of the Spirit compel you, for there is so much more for you and you need not wait for it.
Lord, grant this unto us all.
Now the peace of the Lord, that peace that transcends all human knowledge, understanding and wisdom, keep your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ, even unto life everlasting, Amen.