It is January 31, New Year's Eve 2010. A very cold and snowy morning here in Denver. Us Denverites have waited over 3 months for this snow, and it is gorgeous, crisp and sparkling. Perfect.
I have a lot of thoughts about New Year's. The main one is I generally don't care for it. It has always seemed strange to me, having this "new start" plopped down in the freezing cold of winter, one week after the busiest holiday of the entire year. I figured everyone needed something to distract them from the huge letdown that comes after all the Christmas build-up and planning are over...twenty minutes after all the presents are opened. At the very least, I figured New Year's was getting jipped in its holiday rights- every other holiday gets a proper build-up and plenty of time to buy silly decorations. Valentine's Day displays popped up in stores a week ago, after all.
If I were to plan a "New Year" holiday, I would put it in mid-spring, the first week of May. Plenty of tulips in bloom, and lots of warm rain and green grass. It might hit a little close to Easter some years, but that would just mean more ham biscuits at parties. Now doesn't that sound perfect, bees buzzing and baby bunnies hopping around the flowers? I can smell the honeysuckle at midnight now.
But I suppose there is a problem with this spring New Year's of mine. It shows all the rewards of the creation of another year without any of the effort. "New" implies change. And change is not all bunnies and tulips, it is hard work. And messy.
II Corinthians 5:17 says:
"Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten and everything is new."
Sounds like spring to me.
The new happens in our hearts immediately, Christ gives us a new heart instantly. But the living out of that newness is a process, driven by the choices we make each day. We surrender to Christ's leading each morning. We fall, we get back up.
Just like our New Year's resolutions. We choose to change something, to make something "new" in our lives, and then we go about the hard work to accomplish it. It might be new in our hearts immediately, just like the spring, but it must be lived out in the hard work of winter.
So maybe those calendar planners knew what they were doing after all. As you move about the next few months of winter, doing the difficult work of becoming new in some area of your life, I will be doing the same thing too. And when spring gets here, we will be new, just like the tulips and the bunnies. Just don't fall down and stay there. Choose your resolutions wisely, and then go make then happen.
Happy New Year all.