Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise The Lord Ye Heavens Adore Him"1 (Lyrics)
Revelation 21:5a – And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." (NRSV)
Early on Easter morning, I was out walking with our dog, a morning ritual that I have come to enjoy as much as she does. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and cold, and we were out very early, so we were able to watch the sun rise on our way home. The beauty of that sunrise and the beauty of the farmland around us reminded me powerfully of the beauty of Jesus' resurrection, and how special and mystical the Easter festival is. But the line that came clearly to mind wasn't "Happy Easter", but "Happy New Year" — and that gave me pause for reflection.
There are numerous times through the year that we Christians might celebrate a new beginning or a new "year". In the northern hemisphere, active church life begins anew in September after the summer break. Liturgically, the first day of Advent is typically taken as the beginning of the church year. Most of us celebrate New Year's with our friends on January 1st. And Pentecost, which is happening tomorrow, is typically taken as the "birthday" of the church. A resource about Pentecost reads, "Today, Christ's body, the Church, is born by the power of the Holy Spirit and equipped for service and witness." For many of us, any one of those occasions could be a date for "new beginnings" — the start of something new.
But I think the lesson that I am taking from my experience on Easter morning is that really, any day can mark the start of a new year. For consider: What is it about New Year's Day that makes it special?
- It's a celebration, often marked in community with family or friends.
- It's a time to reflect on what is past and look forward to what is ahead.
- It is positive and full of hope.
For a Christian, any day can be all those things!
2 Corinthians 5:17 – So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (NRSV)
Perhaps this is one of the greatest gifts that we've been given by Christ and perhaps one of the most easily overlooked: we can approach any day of our lives — every day — with a positive, optimistic, Spirit-filled outlook. Praise be to God!
Prayer: Loving God, thank You for all that You've given us, for the beauty that surrounds us, for the endless, limitless possibilities of our lives, and for supporting us so generously with Your Holy Spirit. Amen.