The tree is down, and so are the lights. I carefully wound them up, I really did. Not that it matters. Next year I will join millions of Americans and spend two or three hours untangling.
The last box of Christmas decorations is about to go back to the shed. But, there is still one more gift.
2016 is fresh and new, a package just opened. Now is a time for reflection, for anticipation, for dancing and bouncing like a 3-year-old, looking for what waits in 2016, excited about what could be, dreaming, and hoping for a gift beyond our imagination.
I love new beginnings. A beautiful sunrise that puts yesterday in the past. A new page on the calendar. In fact I love new beginnings so much that when my kids were little, and the day would start out especially rough, we would stop, send everyone back to bed for five minutes, and have them come out again.
We would simply start over, a new beginning in the middle of the day.
A new day. A new week. And now a new year. All new beginnings.
This is one of the most exciting parts of my faith. My sins, my failures, my mistakes are gone, remembered no more. Each day is a new start, a new package, ready to have the wrapping ripped off. I don’t live with all my failures hanging over my head. I don’t live with someone standing over me, condemning me for all my screwups.
Instead, because of Christ’s gift, because of redemption, I don’t stand condemned, but free. I stand as God’s child, not the guy who keeps messing up. I stand, with yet another opportunity for a new beginning.
Some years have been glorious, wonderful joy-filled packages. Some have been a bit harder, lumpy, misshapen and a little bulky, but still filled with wonder, opportunities and anticipation.
And then there have been “those years.”
I started off excited to peek inside, but every little piece of wrapping I tore off revealed a little more heartache, a little more pain, and worst of all it seemed everything I did was a mistake. But now I can look back at those gifts, because even though they hurt, they were still gifts.
God is in control, and he is making even my screwups something beautiful. Even more, I can appreciate that, at the end of every year, good or bad, there is always another year.
Because of Christ, because he forgave me, and because he justified me, I was excited to open 2016, knowing that, once again, I get a brand-new start. I am his child, not the guy who keeps messing up. Now 2016 stands before me, opened and ready.
Shane Richardson of Holden is one of The Star’s Faith Walk writers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..