“Come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.”  [Isaiah 2:5] 

“You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers…”  [Romans 13:11]

Happy New Year! Wait a minute, isn’t that something I’m supposed to say next month? I hope not because I sure could use a fresh start about now. And not just now. There are a lot of days when I wish the year was just beginning.

When I was a child, my New Year’s Day was usually in early September. I loved school and looked forward to the first day (my friends and I even threw a “School’s Eve” celebration once—really). In every place I have worked, my colleagues and I spend a lot of time getting ready for a New Year that starts on October 1—a new fiscal year with new budgets and performance plans. I start a new year every August (my birthday), another in May (our wedding anniversary), and in the fall someone usually takes me to lunch to commemorate the start of another year in my department. And all of this is in addition to our national celebration on January 1 plus all the parades and festivals where we join our friends from other cultures who celebrate the New Year on other days.

You would think with all these opportunities I wouldn’t need one more New Year’s Day, one more fresh start. But this one is the best one, the one I really need. This is the first day of our Christian year, the first day of a year that will bring us closer to our salvation, and the first day of a year where, with God’s help, we will become even more the persons God created us to be. That’s better than a year at school or work or on our personal calendars. It’s God’s year and a first day worth celebrating. So, Happy New Year!

Dear God, you know how ready I am for a new start, how grateful I am for a new year.  Help me wake up and heed Isaiah’s invitation to walk in the light, your light, one day at a time, in this your new year.  Amen.