With Smyrna-Vinings Patch recently celebrating its one-year birthday and the fact that 2012 is rapidly approaching, new beginnings have been on my mind a lot this week. We all long for fresh starts from our past and, often times, we look at each birthday or beginning of the New Year on Jan. 1 as the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. But what if we didn’t wait for the calendar to cue us for our new beginnings? What if we truly began looking at each new day as a chance for a fresh start?
My birthday is at the end of December and, as I get older, each one comes to represent less of a celebration and more an evaluation — a point when I take stock of the year of life I just finished. What are some things I did wrong and could do better? Hopefully, I smile and take pride in the many things I did right as well. The fact that the new calendar year occurs just a few days after my birthday makes New Year resolutions more urgent to me. What am I going to do with this “fresh start” that I have been given? Am I truly going to take advantage of the New Year?
It seems that, because of our traditions, we have been conditioned as Americans to only have this kind of mindset once a year. I have heard many of my friends say during the course of a bad season in their life, “I can’t wait for this year to be over! Next year has to be better.” The calendar, though, is not what is causing their problems, and it won’t solve them either. Being able to write a new year on a check doesn’t really change anything. Sure, having a positive mindset that the New Year will bring new opportunities and beginnings is a good thing. How much better is it, though, to wake up with this mindset everyday? With each punch of the alarm clock, what if we realized that we have been given a chance to start again and do things right and to the best of our ability?
It is important to first remember that we have already been given the ultimate fresh start as Christians. The Creator of the universe chose to send His Son to die for our sins, so that we can be forgiven and find solace for all those reasons we long to start over to begin with. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)
We are literally new creations through Christ and are all blessed to be living today. Not only are we blessed but we have purpose — there is a reason you and I are here or we wouldn’t be at all. There are things in our lives that need to be addressed and carried out now, not next year. Each new day gives us an opportunity to move on from our past and do just that. Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” (NASB)
There is an old saying that, for all its sentimentality, has always rang true for me: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that's why they call it the present." When we begin to view each new day as a blessing and not a burden, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. New Year’s resolutions, ironically enough, will become a thing of the past as we realize that God is in control, not the calendar. Change and new beginnings are certainly a good thing and truly can have them whenever we want. Tomorrow, our past is over and our future begins. Are you ready?