January the first is just another day, isn’t it? Granted, it is the one day in the year when any thought of responsible, healthy eating is sacrificed on the altar of the annual Coyle family fry-up. If it can be eaten fried it might well find itself included – except cheese of course. Apart from that and the possible, though unlikely, ‘New Year’s Day Healthy Walk’ to salve our collective family conscience regarding the fry-up, there surely isn’t anything special about January 1st?
Unfortunately that type of Spockian logic doesn’t work, does it. You see we are unavoidably presented with the opportunity of a fresh start, a clean sheet, a new horizon, a fresh tub of Ben and Jerry’s in which to plunge the dessert spoon of hope. Hence we will probably carry a sense of ‘what does this year hold’ or ‘I wonder if things will be better/worse/much the same (delete as appropriate) than 2015’?
It’s not as if I am impatient to leave 2015 behind, I can think of many things that went brilliantly and of course some that didn’t go so well. To be honest it is as with every other year that I can remember, it has been a mixture, so I don’t say farewell to the year with indecent haste but I am quite ready for 2016.
There is one essential factor though in this whole consideration of passing from one calendar to the next; grace. The grace of God is vital if we are to move on in freedom and forgiveness. You see, as I look back at what has gone well I know that I should not take credit where it is not due. I need to recognise and be thankful for the grace of God in bringing blessing in and through me but I should also be willing to hold up my hands where necessary when things have not gone well. Whatever went wrong or off track may not all be my fault but that is irrelevant, some of it was and I need to admit that and find freedom from my guilt. I may also need to let others know that I am owning my mistakes and ask them to extend their own forgiveness to me.
Paul teaches that it was just so that we could enjoy and live in complete freedom that Jesus set us free in the first place. This makes good sense to me, so I approach the New Year with this in mind. If we are free from all that happened, good or bad, in 2015 then we can be ready to live completely freely in 2016 and we should be certain that the Father has some great stuff lined up for us all.
So my expectation for this coming year is more of God’s goodness, more of His activity in and through all of us, more lives turned around by His love, more hearts, minds and bodies living in full health and more wonderful knowledge of His glorious fullness. That sounds like a brilliant year to me, I hope that it does to you as well.
Happy New Year!