Just a few days ago many of us watched as New Year’s Eve celebrations staggered in around the globe. All of these celebrations had one thing in common; the celebration of the end of one year and the welcoming in of another – A New Year – A new beginning. Throughout our history we have celebrated the New Year as a time that offers new hope that each new year will be better than the last, not just for ourselves but for the entire world.
In this spirit people throughout the world often make resolutions for the coming year. Why? I believe that they reveal something about a longing deep inside of us. They present an invitation to exercise our god given human freedom and to choose a better way. Yet we cannot do it ourselves…we need God.
T.S. Elliot wrote, in Little Gidding, “Both bad and good. Last season’s fruit is eaten and the full fed beast shall kick the empty pail. For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make and end is to make a beginning.”
You see, every end can become a new beginning for all of us who have faith in a living God who invites us to begin again and again. God makes it possible by sharing the Divine Life with us. This is the gift of grace given to us and through receiving it we become what Peter called “partakers of the Divine Nature”. (2 Peter 1:4)
Through Christ we are made capable of beginning to live our lives differently – of choosing differently. Christ can make all things new within us and then continues the work of God by making all things new through us if we but choose the way of love that Christ taught us.
Millions throughout the world will utter sincere resolutions; promises made to oneself, others and even to God. In truth, many will not be kept. Mark Twain is reported to have said, “New Years Day – now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” But it can be different…if we turn to the way of love… if we simply love.
May all of you choose the way of love this year - I think you will find a Spirit willing to guide you and through the grace of God may each of us, living the way of love, help to make this New Year better than the last for ourselves, our community, our nation and the world.
Happy New Year and may the ”love that came down at Christmas”, shine brightly in your hearts.