Just yesterday, we began a new year. We toasted our glasses, smooched our sweeties, watched a giant sphere of sparkles descend in Times Square. Maybe we even sang “Auld Lang Syne” as an old year made its exit and a new one began. There are 365 blank squares on the calendar swooped in with 365 brand new days, waiting to be filled. There’s something even more enticing about that kind of fresh start than the clean white pages of a new notebook or a new box of crayons in September.
Something in us craves a new beginning, a chance to make wrongs right. The promise of a clean slate is thrilling and stirs up a part of our soul. We pin so many hopes and dreams on the start of a new year, don’t we? We set resolutions, create goals, hope to start new habits, break old ones, and declare, “This will be the year of (insert your word here)!”
So much hope, pinned to a blank slate.
It’s a lot of pressure for one ordinary month. By about January 13th, so many of our hopes have been dashed, and our hearts along with them. We miss a day of working out and feel guilty. We eat something off our “cheat list” and feel guilty. We spend money off-budget and feel guilty. The new leaves we’d hoped to turn are stickier than expected, and we guiltily settle back into what’s comfortable, disappointed again in our failed new year.
So much guilt, piled on lofty hopes and big dreams.
Here’s the thing: we don’t have to wait for a new year (or even a new notebook) to turn a new leaf, break a bad habit, and make a few goals. We can start this morning, right now, this second.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Each day begins white as snow. Each day gives us a do-over. Each and every day starts with fresh mercy and new grace.
Guilt doesn’t have to enter the picture.
There’s no big party to welcome a new day, no sparkly orb or bands playing or confetti tossed. New days dawn quietly, simply rolling in unannounced. Mercy is fresh and still covered in dew while grace smiles soft in the background of the sunrise. If we’re too loud, we might miss it: the whispered invitation to a faithful love.
So much goodness, provided in our every day.
He offers. We accept. And so goes the dance of a new day, a new year, a new start. Of fresh mercy, of guiltless dreams, of the good God of both.