New beginnings are always exciting: weddings with candles and flowers, beautiful bridesmaids, handsome groomsmen, laughter, toasts and dancing; 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 imagination.
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. Not all graduates will find career positions for which they prepared. But, we are all called to something new, something significant.
God always calls us forward into new beginnings. 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 said, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you; and I will make you a great nation and I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2). 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).
We have officially celebrated the beginning of a new year. Thousands made the trek to New York to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Others went to Pasadena for the Rose Parade and the first NCAA play-off game. Most of us gathered with family and friends to welcome 2015 with hugs and kisses. If our minds are open to new things, and our hearts are open to God, 2015 can be the start of something special, a new beginning!