I often hear myself replay, “same old, same old,” when people ask how I’m doing, how the family is, or how my job is going. This is an easy answer, probably a habit now.
Yes, life moves forward. Sometimes it is surprising how much time has lapsed and when you look back, you think, what did I do? I went to work; the kids went to school; our family talked, ate and slept; and the world went around.
We are expected to look at the New Year as a new beginning—a starting point for the year to come. Some create New Year’s resolutions; others take the time to plan for the upcoming year. For Christians, the New Year brings the Epiphany season of the Church. The Son of God is born and God will reveal his glory to the world. Certainly a new beginning.
It is natural to stop and take stock of our priorities, our finances, our health, our faith, and our lives as the year begins. However, new beginnings can happen any day, at any time. The miracle is that God’s love and unfailing faithfulness never ceases. Every day is a new beginning.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:232-23 (NRSV)
Big, life-changing beginnings happen every day. People move, change jobs, get married, have children, graduate, retire, lose family…the list goes on. These are all opportunities to see God’s love and grace at work. When major changes happen we automatically stop. How many write pro and con lists? Or ask family and friends for advice? Seek comfort in God’s words?
Whether it is the New Year, a birthday or a life-changing event we examine our lives. We do checks and balances. Am I following Jesus’ example? Did I thank God today? Am I serving as I should? What are my priorities?
But what about those everyday moments when it all feels like the same old thing? How do we see new beginnings, new opportunities to experience God when we are on autopilot? Many more “normal” days mark our calendars than special occasions or events. Should we not create a habit of pausing to acknowledge God’s presences in the world around us.
We need to create time and moments to see God’s work around us, to be open to his presence, and to let Him into our lives. His steadfast love never ceases and his mercies never end. When we are reminded of that we thrive, we discover a touch of peace in our lows and great joy in our highs. How could we not? Treat every day as a new beginning.
Easier said than done, right? Well, what if you woke up five minutes earlier to start your day in concentrated prayer. Imagine your attitude if you thank God for the snow that children can play in or farmers might need, instead of complaining that it will delay your commute. Or, what if you laid your burdens on His shoulders and had faith he would help?
And what if you took five minutes alone at the end of the day to review your actions—the good and the bad. There are situations I would rather not review, but if left alone I would end up repeating tomorrow. Yelling at the kids to clean up their toys on the floor is an excellent example. The raised voice did not fix the mess today, and I doubt it will fix it tomorrow. Or what about that business deal today? Could it hurt anyone, take advantage of anyone, and is it fair?
We are busy, I know. At the beginning of my day, I am always rushing to get out the door in time and at the end of the day, I just want to sit and have time to myself. But there is time for God, there has to be. I know many people who bring their iPads, phones, or other devices to the breakfast table and to bed at night (the bathroom, too). At least 10 minutes a day is taken up with games, videos, or social media. It is a matter of priorities. I promise, the extra time you give to God a day is well worth the effort.
What is your new beginning?
by Alexis McKeown