This is the time of year when we naturally think of beginnings and endings. We end one year with a sense of reflection and begin a new year with looking ahead. We look forward with hope, another year, another chance, a new day. Or we look forward without it, carrying with us the fears, the longings, and the same resolutions. We may ask, is there ever actually anything new about a new year? When the past or present seems so broken that its fragments seem to reach far into the future, new days are often filled more with fear than with promise.
Lamentations 3:21-24 says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’”.
Spoken in the time of exile we focused on last Sunday, we can imagine these words were hard to hear. The Prophet hung on to the promise of things new, even in a situation that would keep him from any idea of what that could possibly mean. In all of the suffering and sorrow surrounding him, it would not have been unreasonable for him to admit that he saw no way out. With the past being what it was, we would not have blamed him for seeing new mornings as nothing but a cynical promise of more of the same. But what he was able to see in the midst of his own sorrow is that only an all-powerful God can truly make a new beginning, a new creation. And new mornings, new year’s, in and of themselves, are useless if they are not seen as belonging to the one who makes all things new.
Today is new because, as Jill Carattini says, “it is a day made by the creator of visions and beginnings, the God who came to live among us and who offers himself as a new portion every morning until we are fully remade.”
Praise God for new beginnings!