Summary: The Roman god Janus - a man with two faces - has given the first month of the year the name of January, from whom we can learn much - see picture


A few days ago we entered a New Year. Who can tell me the name of the month that starts the year? January. Do you know how it got its name? It comes from the Roman god, Janus. Look at his picture. Isn’t it strange - he’s got two faces! He’s looking both forward and backwards - at the past and into the future. He was known as the god of doorkeepers, the god of beginnings, and eventually gave his name to the first month of the year. There are two things we can say about his name and his looks.

The first thing to remember about Janus is that there’s something odd about him - he’s got two faces! Some people are known as two-faced because they say one thing and do quite the opposite. Jesus had some stern words about them. He called them hypocrites (Matt 23:25-28). He said they "look beautiful on the outside but on the inside ... unclean". They certainly weren’t His followers. No, Jesus wants us to be truthful in all we say and do.

I also said that Janus reminds us of beginnings. A New Year is a good time to make a fresh start. At one point in his life, St Paul wrote that he wasn’t satisfied with what he’d done in the past. This is what he determined to do: "Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:13,14). This is something we can all do. What about making a New Year’s resolution to be more helpful to other people. Have you made one? We could decide to say our prayers and to read the Bible. But the best New Year’s resolution we could make is to decided to put our trust in the Lord Jesus as our Saviour.

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