I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? –Isaiah 43:19
On New Year’s Day, I turned over a new leaf—literally.
I had been reading from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, a collection of short devotionals for each day of the year. As the year drew to a close, I was accustomed to flipping to the back of the book for my daily inspiration.
On January 1st, I realized with a start it was time to turn the book over and begin again at the front. I was excited to retrace my steps through the volume and its wisdom. Perhaps I would discover some things I missed the last time through.
The beginning of a new year always manages to catch me off guard one way or another—like when I have to remember to date my checks correctly. What surprises me most, though, is how much I need it. The end of December inevitably sends me into some post-holiday funk. I’m sad the celebrations are over, and overwhelmed at the thought of putting away so much Christmas cheer.
But then New Year’s Day faithfully appears, and with it the prospect of new beginnings and new possibilities. It’s such a hopeful little holiday.
“Maybe this will be the year I finally (fill in the blank with whatever I failed to accomplish last year).”
This particular winter, past incompletions and disappointments weighed especially heavy. I felt worn out and stale, emptied of energy and inspiration. I was a “slacker mom,” barely going through the motions as wife, mother and homemaker. My only “vision for the future” featured me struggling just to put one foot in front of the other in an endlessly dreary shuffle through life.
I needed something new.
Thankfully, New Year’s is nothing if not a holiday for fresh starts. That particular day found my husband and me enjoying a leisurely morning in our bedroom, all our children occupied elsewhere. We began discussing our hopes and plans for the coming year. We recommitted to past goals and started defining some new ones. Before we knew it, we had spent half the day in our pajamas sitting cross-legged on the bed, envisioning our future.
This simple act of “waking up” to the New Year was all it took to shake off the lethargic stupor I’d been in for so many months. Not only was I encouraged, I was expectant. I was reinvigorated and ready for action—even if I didn’t get dressed right away!
What a splendid job our Creator did, designing the cycles of time to refresh us at consistent intervals. “In the beginning” he established mornings, seasons and the Sabbath—regular reminders for us to pause and start over. Left to ourselves, we might never know when to begin again. Maybe we would just go on and on until we dropped, shuffling drearily and hopelessly through life.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. –Isaiah 40:31a
Eternal God knows his people are bound to wear out and fall down, mess up and miss out. As the author of renewal, he appreciates our need for a fresh start.
And he loves us enough to provide something infinitely more refreshing than the seasons or the Sabbath. He gives us Someone completely new—He offers us a Savior.
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. – II Corinthians 5:17, NLT
And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” –Revelation 21:5