New Year’s is on my mind, and I’ve been wondering just what exactly makes a New Year? January 1st gives us a conveniently new starting point with just a flip of the calendar page. Or maybe you start with a new liturgical year, the Chinese New Year, Rosh Hashanah, or the Hijri (Islamic) New Year.
At back to school time, students and educators launch a new year–but even that varies quite a bit. The Costa Rican academic year, like many countries in or near the southern hemisphere, runs from February to December.
Or how about your birthday? Your own personal day rings in another new year, marking both the passing of time and your hopes for the future. Weddings and anniversaries, births and deaths all remind us that another year is done and a new one begins.
So I wonder….when was my New Year?
- Waking up in Intensive Care after back surgery, the start of a long and complicated road to recovery?
- Day 1 of a plant-based diet, which eliminated animal products, dairy, sugars and processed foods from my daily life?
- My birthday, in which we celebrated 37 Megan-years gone by and a 38th in the making?
- The moment I chose forgiveness over resentment? (if that’s the case, I hope to have lots of New Year’s in the future!)
- The weeks in which I swept all the too-big clothes out of the closet and began to build a new wardrobe…and everyone commented about my new look?
- Asking God to do whatever it takes to destroy my self-sufficiency and draw my attention to Him alone?
- Setting a new work schedule, because for the first time in seven years I expect to be able to handle a longer workday?
- Or was it the first day of English classes, when the building filled up once again with old and new students, all eager to learn?
We are well into 2016 and I am ready for a new year. The truth is…any given point can be a new year. Losing a job, committing to healthier habits, unpacking in a new apartment or house, changing your attitude, landing on foreign soil, receiving an unexpected medical diagnosis, graduating, meeting someone new or picking up the pieces after a broken relationship… all of these constitute another beginning.
The Bible tells us, “We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Romans 6)
No matter what you’ve messed up in the past year…what others have done to you…what lengths you’ve endured… what New Year’s resolutions you left dangling… what your outlook has been up until now… Begin anew today. And Happy New Year.