Waking Up to a New Year

On January 11, 2009 by saintlukesgresham

by Judy Bevilacqua

St. Luke's Episcopal Church - Labyrinth2009 dawned just like the surprising NEW snow that greeted us on January 2nd. There it lay, spreading out in blazing white, covering over every imperfection and bit of mud and weed, a face-lift to the usual dismal, unkempt January landscape. A visual picture of a new start, a clean slate!

I always get a spark of hope this time of year. Resolutions abound, unreasonable expectations crowd through rational thought and I am giddy with the prospect of the new manageable, disciplined life before me. But like that new snow, muddy footprints, and brown slush will soon replace my pristine predictions. But still – I’m infatuated with January. I make new to-do lists, strict financial budgets, and unrealistic plans for exercise and diet. Plans to excavate the papers in my office (for the umpteenth year in a row) fill me with heady resolve! AND I am in my 2nd week on a schedule to read the Bible through in a year. Like a young lover, I am giddy, dizzy with hope and full of amnesia about my past failures! Will I never learn?

Emily Dickinson writes:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all….

Even in the face of failure, I can’t let go of HOPE. And neither can God. Last week, as I read my selected Bible passage, I watched what God did with HIS big disappointment. There’s the Garden of Eden. It’s perfect! Not a weed, not a stinging bug, no apple maggot or peach curl! And Adam and Eve are unblemished, naked, happy as clams at low tide, enjoying Paradise like a couple of kids. And then things start to unravel…like that blanket of snow that melts to reveal the brown muddy earth beneath.

But God redeems us when we fail. In the first chapter of Isaiah, the Lord says, “Now, let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow.”

What relief is in those words, “I WILL.” He chooses to love and help us! And God knows our limitations! So maybe my only resolution this year will be simply to look and listen each new day to the voice that whispers: I WILL! I will help you. I will lead you. I will comfort you. I will strengthen you. I will forgive you.” Like that picture of new snow: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lam. 3:22

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