Welcome to January!  With all of its hope, possibility, and pressure, the start of a new year can be overwhelming.  This is a busy season for all of the self-help gurus, local gyms, and nutrition coaches.  But for the rest of us, it’s time to re-set, re-focus, and re-imagine our lives.

I love a fresh start, a clean slate, a blank page.  My soul takes a deep breath at the opportunity to begin afresh, to try something new, to experience change.  Though we know there’s nothing overtly different about December 31 and January 1, I believe it’s the mercy of God to give us a calendar.

My 2nd grade son came home from school today and taught me something new. January [lanuarius] is named after the Latin word for door [ianua] or beginning.  …a fun fact I’ve never known but makes complete sense.  And isn’t a new door and a fresh beginning what we all long for? It was the best part of freshly sharpened and never used pencils at the start of a school year.  It’s the wonder of a wide-eyed new baby.  It’s the myriad of possibilities open to a fresh graduate in a big city.  Newness.

Calendar is mercy.  So I won’t despise those who are starting new exercise programs or organizing their pantries or color coding their shiny new planners (which I might know just a little something about).  We were designed to crave fresh beginnings, to long for a clean slate.

This desire is what makes biblical truths like these so sweet:

“His mercies are new every morning”

“The old has gone and the new has come”

Having a calendar is mercy – not because it gives us an opportunity to flex our willpower muscles at the outset of each year – but because it’s a picture of the gospel.  In the life of a Christian, just as the sun rises each morning, the great faithfulness of our God brings new mercies each day.  When we trust in Christ’s merit to satisfy God’s righteous requirements we are made new from the inside out. Our redemptive, restorative God is in the business of making all things new.

So, at every turn this January – with its challenges, tests of our willpower, and failures of our flesh – let your longing for newness point you to the only One who is able to bring lasting transformation.   See your desire to change as a marker of his grace.  Worship the Lord for his perfect faithfulness.  Invite the Holy Spirit to change you as you depend on him.

Ashlee Johnson

Author Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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