Happy New Day
What do you do when you stumble into a New Year with more of a cough and a splutter than a fizz, pop, bang?
I've been asking myself that, and I have some words of encouragement for you today. (They'll help you tomorrow, too.)
For the last umpteen years I have loved New Year celebrations and we've made the most of setting goals as a family, taking advantage of the opportunity for a new start. Somehow this year I see things differently. Maybe because of a lacklustre Christmas break, potentially precious moments spoilt by sickness and colds, fevers, exhaustion and rain... and a few family tensions thrown in. And New Years Eve all I could think of (between coughing fits) is how I regretted not having a Wellspring praise and prayer meeting to welcome in 2018. Happy <sniff> New <cough> Year <groan>?
So what now? Have I missed a moment?
No. And this is my simple, profound revelation: New Years is not a Christian festival, not a Biblical pattern we are expected to keep. January 1st is in itself a fairly random day on our calendar. Just another day. In fact, when it comes to festivals we are discouraged from celebrating the sacrifices of the ancient New Moon Festivals (Col 2:16-17) or in fact any ritual that distracts us from the simple and wholehearted worship of Christ and dependence on him, whatever day it is. He has forgiven us completely and what we are given is this: Every. New. Day.
In the context of deep groaning and pain, the writer of Lamentations proclaims:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. (3:22-23)
Fresh. Each. Morning.
How much more does every Christ-follower, saturated as we are by his forgiving grace, simply need to live in that reality?
The writer to the Hebrews urges his readers to make the most of each day:
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (3:12-14)
So this is my New Year thought: You have missed nothing if you are not overflowing with hope for 2018! You don't even need to muster up some idea or Instagram meme of how great this year has to be. Relax.
You see, I do have a deep sense of excitement about all that will come in the coming year, but this is why: Every new morning we will wake up with fresh grace, enough strength for the day, enough power to walk and keep walking, to fight and keep fighting, to love and keep loving. Today we will win or we will learn, and we will wake up with new mercies tomorrow.
So, whatever the date, today is a good day!
Let's be faithful in it and revel in the mercies from heaven that Jesus lovingly offers us.
Happy New Day.
- Tim Roberts (Senior Minister)