I heard a preacher a few years back state that the great thing about the new year is “that we get to start over.” I didn’t think much of the comment at the time, but over the years, that one comment has simmered in my brain. God shows His grace in giving us a time to begin again. The new year is, of course, not the full expression of God’s grace. In fact, it is such a small reflection of His grace that we usually overlook it.
There is something valuable, though, in rebooting our lives at this time of year. We can laugh about how all the exercise and diets plans have gone down the tubes by February 1st, but the fact remains that in our culture, the new year is a time to reassess our lives. Most of us do live in a time and a place in which we have the opportunities to develop new habits. To set new goals. To dream new dreams.
The fact that we can change our lives points to the fact that we are not robots driven by our past, our family history or our biological impulses. Years ago, there was pastor who tried to reconcile a father with his son. The effort failed as the father remarked, “My son is a drug addict. That’s what he is.” The father’s pain had blinded him to the work of grace in his own son’s life. Change had come, but he refused to see it.
By God’s grace, change in this life is possible. Not easy. Not quick. But possible.
The new year does bring hope. We do get to start over.