Most of us view the beginning of the year as just what it says, a beginning – a new beginning. The diet we started and quit after a few weeks, the budget we abandoned after a couple months, plus all the other items that were on the list are in the rear view mirror come January 1st. We don’t feel guilty about not completing them and whatever we’ve made a mess of, we can walk away from with a clear conscience. Well, maybe not everything, but the new year does have a way of shining a ray of hope on whatever lies ahead.
Embedded in our community is a ritual to have a special meal with symbolic meaning on New Year’s Day. Black eyed peas for luck and collard greens for money always take center stage on the table. And then there is the custom that the first person to enter your home on New Year’s Day has to be male. I didn’t research how and why that became a “must do” but I believe it has something to do with luck. Good luck, bad luck, I don’t know.
When you sum it all up, New Years is the life line that pulls us out of the rut. After months of toiling we cash in our hand and start over. Whatever happened over the past months is behind. And even if it isn’t completely behind, the end is closer than it was.
On January 1st we wake up in the same bed, put on the same clothes and drive the same car to the same job to work around the same people. Yet the power of the New Year tells us it’s going to be a better year although nothing has changed. We are finally “out of the rut.”
Before the Resurrection of Christ, those who lived during the time of the Old Testament were what I call a “ritual rut.” Forgiveness of sin and access to God followed a strict code. The spiritual freedom and instant access to God we now enjoy was only prophecy to the people of the Old Testament.
The joy and hope that is felt on January 1st is available 24/7, 365 days of the year, to those who believe thanks to the fulfillment of prophecy. The hope we once placed in the euphoria of the New Year, we now place in the power of the promises of God. We don’t have to wait twelve months for our change to come. It comes daily.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam 3:22-23 NIV
Forgiveness of Sin
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
Therefore, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1 NIV
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Rom 10:9
And the list goes on!
Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Choir sang “Second Chance.” The lyrics of the song reflect my story – and probably yours too. God does give us a second chance every day of the year.
The bible does not specifically address making a New Year’s Resolution, but it does address change and provides the power to do so. That power lies in the One we celebrate this time of the year.
Written by Henry Hopson, Jr.