Summary: We can look back to what God did for us in 2005, or ahead to what He wants to do for us in 2006. We can look both ways, but we can only step out one way ... and that should be in faith.
Something happened a few hours ago. Something I believe each of us must come to terms with. What was it? The clock struck midnight, and in so doing, we had to say good-bye to one year, but we got to say hello to a brand new year. We go through this each year, but I am not sure just how much thought we give to the position this puts us in.
Sure, we have all the memories we keep revisiting of the past year, and we all make New Year’s resolutions for the New Year, but sometimes we stop at that and don’t analyze things further. Take for instance, the calendar we use.
The calendar that the ancient Romans used was the predecessor of the calendar we use today. On their calendar, each month had a specific meaning. For instance, March was named after the god of war, Mars, and July was named after Julies Caesar.
January had a very special meaning. They called it Janua. That means a door from which a person may stand in and look both ways; in and out. Janus was a common god who was often shown with a face on each side of his head, depicting a god who was looking both ways.
I think that is appropriate today, because we are standing in a doorway this morning, looking both ways; back through the year 2005, and ahead to the glory that awaits us in the year 2006. Let’s talk about this unique perspective we are given on this day.
1. LOOKING BACK
My dad used to say that a book has many chapters and each one is meant to be read, but not ‘unduly’ re-read. He meant that when we finish a chapter, even though it may have been a very good one, do not keep going back to re-read it, but to flip the page and eagerly anticipate the adventure that awaits you in the next chapter.
If we really look at all that has happened to us in 2005, we will readily see many instances of God’s love in our lives. We don’t have to look very far in the past to see God’s love either, do we? In fact just need to look back one week. Last Sunday was Christmas. Just last Sunday we saw that God loved us so much that He gave us His Son as a human sacrifice to pay for our sins. And even though that is more than we deserve, God continues to do many things for us; because He loves us.
There is a story of a thunderstorm that started to develop just as a little girl was getting out of school. Her mother was concerned about the 7-year old girl walking home in the rain. Just about the time she started to go out and find her daughter, the little girl came in to the house. Her mother told her she was very worried about her, but the little girl said God protected her. She said He loved her so much that He kept taking pictures of her all the way home!
That little girl did something all of us are supposed to do, too, and that is to see God’s hand in every single thing that happens to us or around us. And as we look back through this past year, I pray that we see many instances of God doing things in our lives because of His great and undeserved love He has for us.
And as we stand in this doorway and look backwards, we must quickly come to terms and look forward, too.
2. LOOKING AHEAD
My dad taught me to look ahead with eager wonder to the unknown adventures that lie ahead. Diana can tell you that I only spend about half my time in the here and now, because I spend the rest of my time trying to envision the future or trying to see what might be waiting for us “just around the next corner”. She said if I couldn’t think about the future, I wouldn’t be able to deal with the present. I think she’s right.
We must cast our focus on the future; on the New Year; on what God has planned for us. Out of His love for us, God gave us something that we should all use for His glory, and that is something called the ‘future’. That is what we should gaze upon as we stand in this doorway and begin to step through.
This future is full of adventures, and every single one of them can bring us closer to the Lord if we will only let it. One of the most important blessings in this New Year will be when we are once again reminded that Christ arose from the dead and that gives us the hope of something else in the future; the 2nd Coming of Christ to gather His followers up to go with Him. That would be you and me!