“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1
Christmas has come and gone and the new year has arrived, and with its arrival many of us will have made a new year’s resolution or two. I have made a lot of new year’s resolutions over the years. I always say I’m going to eat less, exercise more, and lose weight. If I’d lost all the weight I resolved to, I’d be invisible by now. I know what I need to do. But without me even saying, you know how it goes. The best-laid resolutions fade away before they even get off the ground. For me, new year’s resolutions are an uphill climb, so I quit making them. That way I don’t disappoint myself by the time the second week of January rolls around. Even so, new year’s resolutions are nothing more than outward and visible signs of things that are frustrating us in life. They are remedies to the failures that we have experienced. Interestingly, they often point to some of our most glaring weaknesses.
For Christmas one year, I received a book of daily devotions titled I Want to Live These Days with You by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The devotional message for January 1st is titled “A New Beginning.” It says simply:
Every new morning is
a new beginning
of our life.
Every day is
a completed whole.
I think that is true. We begin each new year with much thanksgiving for all the blessings of the past and with great anticipation and hope for the newness of the year. But calendars do not tell the whole story. Life, just as each new day, is a gift of God. We receive it anew each day, and each day we decide how to invest it in ways that are pleasing to God, helping those around us, and in doing so, bring glory to God. We simply seek to live faithfully in the relationship that God established with us in our baptism, living out of that river full of grace in which we stand. I believe that a lot of our failures in life and in the body of Christ are a result of our striving on our own and thinking that it all depends on us - our cleverness, our faithfulness, our efforts - and consequently at some point we find ourselves anxious and exhausted. In a new year’s message, Michael Jinkins, President of Louisville Seminary, wrote:
“Not only are the gospels true. They are real. And the point I’m taking from them as we begin a New Year is this: What is impossible for us is child’s play for God, whether it is the transformation of an individual’s life, the toppling of a seemingly all-powerful empire, the liberation of oppressed and enslaved people, or the spread of the gospel among those who seem utterly uninterested in God. God invites us to participate in all of God’s mighty acts. But, here’s the really exciting part, God invites us to participate in large part by remembering what God has done and by gossiping the good news of what God can do in the face of apparently impossible odds. You, of course, remember that whole passage from John’s Gospel: ‘Let your hearts not be troubled. You trust in God,’ Jesus said, ‘Trust also in Me.’ I think this is one New Year’s resolution we can keep. And if we can’t, God will keep even this for us.” 
We stand at the beginning of a new year with the assurance of God’s steadfast love and abundant faithfulness. We do not face a new year or a new day alone. Through the miracle of the incarnation God is with us, even now. Happy New Year!
 Michael Jinkins, “Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled,” Thinking Out Loud, Louisville Seminary, December 27, 2010.
Tuesday, January 19 at 5:30 p.m. - Koinonia Circle will go out to eat at Olde Dutch Restaurant. ALL LADIES OF THE CHURCH ARE INVITED! PLEASE COME!!