It's such a fresh feeling.
It's like the 6am of the year, like cracking open a new journal. There's not much like it.
There's something in the human psyche that grabs for it. "This is my chance," we say. "A clean slate. NOW, I can do that thing or abstain from that thing, or grow in this way. Maybe last year was a train wreck, but this marks a new beginning."
It's silly if you think about it. Couldn't we do that at any time?
I think we all know that deep down. I mean, January 1 doesn't even mark the beginning of a season. It's totally arbitrary (I know several of you reading this actually know the origins of our calendar. Just give it to me).
So, the Bible talks about God having fresh mercy for each day. It's a refill. Did ya eff up yesterday? No problem. God shall top you up with mercy today (and it's really only good for today, for now. Tomorrow has its own unique mercy).
I have several brothers and we got in to trouble when we were little (of course). I can't remember what we had done, but I must have been about 5 years old and some handful of brothers were lined up to get spankings. Like some sort of twisted death row scene, we were being held in our parents' room and then sent to our doom one by one into our shared kids' room. I remember a brother going first and not hearing the sound of wailing I expected.
"Oh God, he's dead" I thought. "I'm next. It's all over."
When my turn came, I wandered down the hall and met my executioner I mean my dad. He had a large wooden spoon in his hand.
"Son, do you know what mercy is?"
I actually can't remember what I said, but in that moment I sure as hell understood mercy. The spoon didn't get any action that day and he sent me off and told me to keep quiet until my next brother came in. We were off the hook. Scot-free.
Whatever your picture of God, I'm sure it includes some type of judgement. It's odd; our human brains seem to need it. "God is most-likely mad at me." Why is that so easy to believe? Not sure to be honest, but I'm sure that I have the disease.
For example, try this statement on for size:
"I bet God wants to smite me! Do you know what a piece of crap I am?"
No problem. I can buy that.
But what about this one?
"I am reconciled to God already."
GET OUT OF TOWN. That's heresy.
Like I say, I don't get it. I'm just pointing it out.
But I don't know how God could say "January 1st" any more clearly than the person Jesus.
Do you need to make sure you're cool with God and that you have a fresh start?
Look at Jesus
Look at Jesus
Look at Jesus
Did you hear me? If you really need to make sure someone got punished, it happened. If you really need to know if someone would die for you, it happened.
If you really, really need to know that the cosmos are going to give you a second chance, a wink and nod in your direction, boom it's done.
You have January 1st on January 2nd, and 3rd and on October 24th and on September 8th and also March 18th (but not April 16th because geeze God isn't that generous).
I don't think you're dumb if you made New Year's resolutions. Mine have included making wardrobe changes and also looking at naked ladies less. So, go for it.
Just know that from divine perspective, you have that fresh start now whenever now is.
Jesus, when you were on the cross you were saying, "the beginning is now". You said that two-thousand years ago and you're saying that in this moment as well. I thank you. Amen.