I'm holed up in my living room with the fire blazing. It's quiet here. Everyone has departed back to their lives and livelihoods, leaving the dogs and me to fend for ourselves; it's a toss-up whether they've having a tougher time or I am. I really miss the holidays about now. The festive way our house looks all decorated in red and red and gold, with the noble, noble fir standing boldly in the corner. The laughing of my daughters as they share a joke or two, do a little online window-shopping, or watch a bit of guilty pleasure TV (really, the Kardashians? Really?). Miss the sounds of a football game as the background noise (I'm a big fan of Jon Gruden as a commentator, I really am. And by the way, I'll be wearing my green and gold with pride next Monday night, completely unfazed by those in my family who turn up their noses at the idea that I could possibly be a Duck!).
Yep, January is a quiet month, kind of like that post-party, post-big-dinner coma people talk about. We go about our business still in the dead of, dark of, winter when the year stretches long before us. Though the calendar changes, most of us don't actually change anything but what date we sign when we get to January. Years have always begun in September, at least in my world and I suspect in most others' worlds as well. So how do we actually gather momentum to leap into something new when everything is still the 'Bleak mid-winter'? This is the time of year (unless one lives in the southern hemisphere) when we layer up, cover up, and find dig in, so to speak. Those aren't exactly the actions of becoming new.
However, we are told in 2 Corinthians 5 that 'while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." There's a sense of waiting inherent in Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 5, in his use of phrases like "[God]...has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come;" and "We are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight." If we are looking for ways to brighten our new year, to be assured that we are not simply biding our time until something else--brighter days, a better season, whatever--comes along, 2 Corinthians 2 is as good a location as any to begin. While we live in the darkness mere faith, which is what we have here on earth, we have been given the Spirit as guarantee that we will someday--oh, that glorious Someday--see face-to-face.
In fact, we who are in Christ are actually what is new in the darkness of winter. This is what Paul reminds us in verse 17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!" In these first few days of the second decade of this century, bear these words well. You are the new Creation in this world. In your workplace when the days seem long and the work sometimes tedious--you are the new Creation. In your family, when the light fades quickly each day, making tempers fray, if you are in Christ, you are the New thing your family is waiting for. The old is gone--the year, maybe, but you, definitely!--and the new is come--the year, yes, but also you.
Clothed in Him and His saving mercies. As was written in Lamentations 3:23 hundreds of years before His birth, those mercies aren't merely a one-time thing, or a once-yearly thing, but are new every morning. So, today, this year, be His--with His mercies--new every morning.