Hope in the New Year

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17)

The new year is a time of renewal, when the rolling over of the calendar brings the opportunity for a fresh start. The slate has been wiped clean, and we all have a chance to write a new story – our story – and make it the best story we can in the coming year. We can leave behind the regrets and mistakes of the previous year. The new year brings something the old year no longer has – hope. Hope for a different outcome, hope that things will be better, hope that relationships will be restored, hope that Jesus will make things right.

Last week, I wrote about my word for the year: bold. In addition to choosing a word, I also set goals: big, broad goals for the year and smaller, more manageable goals for each month to mark my progress toward the bigger goals. My goals give me hope that change is possible as I check them off one by one.

Without goals, I lose focus and get bogged down by unimportant details. I’m a goal-oriented person, and I know that I will flail about aimlessly without goals to mark my progress. When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the worries of daily life, I focus on my goals for the day and the hope that each one represents.

With the Lord’s help, I’ll leave behind the pain and regret of last year and move forward to start fresh as a new season in life begins. While we focus on the fresh start the new year brings, we should remember that the Lord provides opportunities every day – not just at the beginning of the year – for us to focus on him and to leave our old lives behind us: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23 ESV). Each day, we must choose to live for him, and as we do, our lives will show the hope that he brings.

Dear Jesus, thank you for the new year, with its clean slate and new opportunities to live for you. Help me to focus on the hope you bring each day. Amen.