The Gift of a New Year

2014 gift

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

Wow, a new year is here. It seems almost unreal that the first day of 2014 is upon us. It seems like yesterday we were preparing for the year 2000. People were running around preparing for the computers to crash. Some were even preparing for the world to end, yet here we are. Where has the time gone?

I love New Year’s Day. I have always enjoyed the start of a new year. Some people do not see much point in bringing in a new year. Many people sleep right through it. My dad use to tell us, “It will come whether I wait up on it or not.” I have always enjoyed “bringing in the new year.” There is something refreshing about saying good-bye to an old year and welcoming a new one. For me it is almost like taking off old tattered clothes and putting on new ones. I have always seen New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect. Some times it was to reflect on good things and some times it was to put away old painful things. Either way, the new year always brings about a new-found hope in my heart.

I sat last night and enjoyed watching the old year come to an end and a new one take its place. As I did I thought about all of the possibilities a new year brings. We never really know what a new year will hold, but I always find comfort in knowing that God does. What I see as a book with empty pages waiting to be filled, God sees as a masterpiece already written by His own hand.

As I thought about what I wanted to write today, the image of a gift came to my mind. I began to think about how a new year is like a present, given to us by God. It is crisp and neatly wrapped, waiting for us to open it and see what is waiting inside.

Here are a few things I imagine you would find if you could open your new year like a gift:

First, I think you would find a journal, beautifully covered, with gold-tipped pages. On the front of this journal would be your name. As you open it, you find crisp, clean pages waiting to be filled. This journal is your life story. Remember, however, you will never be able to write this story alone. No, the only way you will ever fill these pages with anything that makes sense is to place the pen in the hand of your Heavenly Father. Give the control to Him. I promise you, He can write a much better story that you could ever imagine.

Next, I think you would find a Bible. You see, this is God’s road map for your life. If you are wise you will not set it to the side and leave it there, but will take it with you and use it. Allow God to speak to you through it. Share it with those around you. Spread God’s word to everyone you meet.

Then, as you keep looking in the box, I think you would find a clock. This is to remind you that time is precious. Yes, we have been blessed with another year, but honestly we have no idea how much of that year we will see. We all pray that God will grant us the blessing of seeing many years come and go, but we are never even promised tomorrow. Let this clock be a reminder to you to make each moment count. Use your time wisely. Use your time for the Lord.

Finally, as you reach the bottom of the box, I believe that you would find a mirror. What could this possibly be for? No, it is not so you can look at yourself and find all the flaws. It is not even so you point out others’ flaws. This mirror is to be used to reflect God’s love. You see, you do not have the power in yourself to love other people the way that God wants you to. What you can do is allow God’s love to come into your heart, and then with His help you can reflect this love to those around you. Let other people see God’s love shining in you. This is the only way that we can lead others to Him.

So here is my question for you today: What will you do with the gift that you have been given? How will you use the things that God has given you in this gift called 2014? The choice is yours. The box has been opened, a new year has begun. The choice you have to make is what will you do with the contents of the gift? Will you take each piece out and use it as God has asked you to, or will you leave them where they are and wander through this new year alone?

My prayer for each of us today is that we will accept this gift of a new year. I pray that we will take each piece of this gift and allow God to use it in our lives. We have been blessed with a brand new year. The possibilities are endless, the adventures unimaginable. One thing is for sure, there is no way we can make this new year what it is supposed to be on our own. The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ. Let us put our trust in Him. Let us allow Him to lead, guide, and grow us as He sees fit.

Happy New Year, my friend. I pray that God will bless you today and all throughout the year to come.