As with every other New Year, this is a week of celebration, in spite of a dysfunctional congress and the "fiscal cliff." Many will make the trek to New York to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Most of us will gather with family and friends to welcome 2013 and the beginning of a new year.
New beginnings are exciting: weddings with candles and flowers, beautiful bridesmaids, handsome groomsmen, laughter, toasts and dancing with the bride; the birth of a baby wrapped in blankets, showered with gifts; graduations with speeches about dreams and possibilities followed by posed photos that will hang on living room walls; a new job; a new home. Starting anew stirs our juices.
New beginnings are filled with excitement, optimism, and hope as well as fear, doubt and worry. Weddings are fun, but making a marriage can be hard work. Babies are cute, but raising a child can be difficult. Graduation marks a significant achievement, but, finding a job and advancing in a chosen career can be daunting.
We cannot predict our future. Not all newlyweds who leave the marriage altar showered with rice, petals and birdseed will experience a life-long relationship of love and fulfillment. Not all babies will grow to maturity surviving the pitfalls of drugs and violence. Not all graduates find career positions that fulfill their dreams. But, we are all called to something new, something significant.
God always calls us forward into new beginnings. He is always starting something new. He beckons us to leave the old and familiar to follow Him on a journey of discovery into places we have never been. He encourages us to calm our fears and exchange our doubts for faith. He challenges us to trust in Him for a better future and a better day.
When God called Abraham, He called him from his familiar home to follow Him into a strange land. God promised, “I will bless you … and you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2). Abraham’s step of faith to follow God into a new beginning changed history.
To Isaiah, God said, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isa. 43:18-19). Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone. The new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17).
If our minds are open to new things, and our hearts are open to faith, 2013 can be the start of something special.