Clergy Corner: You can begin afresh every day, not just on New Year’s Day

“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready. Dear God, thank You for another chance.”

File Photo of Susan Beckett
Susan Beckett, Dwelling Place Church.

■ By Susan Beckett / Contributed

Just about everyone I know makes New Year’s resolutions of some sort or another. They vow to exercise more, lose weight, watch less TV, be a nicer person…the list is almost endless.
I bet you can just about guess though, what the problem is with most of our resolutions — just about nobody keeps them much past February! At this point you may be thinking it’s too late to make a new resolution — January 1st has passed you by and left you in the dust, with absolutely no hope for a new beginning. Bummer!
But I have some great news for you — New Year’s Day used to be celebrated in March. Mesopotamia started the tradition of celebrating New Years in 2000 B.C. in mid-March — around the time of the vernal equinox. The Romans designated March 1st as the beginning of their new year, as their calendar only had 10 months, and March was the first month of the year. It makes sense. But eventually two additional months (January and February) were added to the front of the calendar, so in time, the beginning of the new year was moved to January 1st.
Now, since January 1st is over with, and you’ve missed your big resolution opportunity, just for the sake of conversation, let’s say our new New Year’s date is going to be March 1st, which gives us more time to come up with some thoughtful and maybe much better resolutions.

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

I actually did some checking around and found several interesting resolutions that at least force one to do some cerebral thinking. Try these on for size:
– I will wave to fellow motorists at four-way stops.
– I will spend less than $1,825 for coffee at the coffee shop this year.
– I will cut my hair.
– I will grow my hair.
– I will have my photo taken in five interesting places.
– I will not eat six donuts a day
– I will spend at least four hours a day away from my TV.
And my very favorite:
– I will stop leaving my dirty gym socks lying in the middle of the floor. I’ll leave them on the kitchen table where they’re easier to reach.
But seriously, making resolutions at the start of each year is actually a good thing. Having a fresh start date (a “do-over” date, really) can be a valuable tool. At Dwelling Place we usually start our New Year by saying, “New Year — New You!” There’s just something freeing about being able to say that and mean it.
There’s a terrific passage in the Bible that directly addresses “do-overs.” Lamentations 3:22, 23 (NLT) tells us: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.”
So did you catch exactly what God does here? It’s great — he actually gives us a New Years do-over date every morning!!
“Mercy” literally means: clemency, compassion, grace, forgiveness, tolerance, charity, kindness, sympathy, generosity, indulgence, etc. After understanding the definition of “mercy,” I think it would be very difficult to find anyone who didn’t want to start their day without it. And, according to the Bible, it’s freely available to us every morning. Every morning! Amazing!!
And pondering this further, why would we expect anything less from GOD?! After all — isn’t he called “our Father” in the Bible? As parents, don’t we want to extend forgiveness, newness, and mercies to our own children every day? How much more our heavenly Father extends mercies, kindness, and compassion towards those of us who seek Him and call Him Father!
The Bible clearly teaches us that God can bring peace to our past, purpose to our present and hope to our future. Knowing that, each year I strive to make the rest of my life the best of my life. And thankfully, I can start every morning with a do-over!
Someone once wrote this thought-provoking piece: “Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready. Dear God, thank You for another chance.”
Yes and Amen to that.

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