Sometime around Christmas each year, I get a very exciting package in the mail. Its not a Christmas present from a far-away friend, its not baked goods from across town…Its my Annual Planning Guide and Calendar from the Christian Board of Publication. Now, I may not be the most organized person on the planet, and I’m not very attached to a routine; but every year when that package arrives, filled with beautiful, clean smooth blank calendar days, I am happy. I feel hopeful, uplifted, inspired, and grateful for all those unwritten days in my future. The possibilities are endless!
Granted, by about mid-February, those pages are not so new and shiny any more. Engagements have been filled in the spaces, some in ink, some in pencil. Things have been crossed through, erased, and whited-out, only to be penned again in other places, or replaced by a more pressing need. The edges are a little dog-eared, and there’s usually a coffee stain on at least a month or two. That little book has travelled many miles with me by that time, and gotten me, on time, from one place to the next for several weeks. Its what I’d call broken in.
But for just those few weeks every year, I’ve got the joy of blank pages at my disposal. It’s the one time of the year I get to feel some semblance of control over my life. Yes, I realize what a sense of humor God must have about that particular delusion! Still, there is something happy and hopeful about knowing that your future days have not been written yet, and that you still have every opportunity to make the right choices, to order your priorities, and to use your time and energy in the best possible way, for every day that heaven has assigned you.
The new year offers that same opportunity. However stressful, painful or joyful the year before has been, the coming months invite you to make a fresh start in how you order your life. It is a season of new beginnings. Where would you like to see the lines fall in the year ahead? Where do you hope to spend most of your time, energy, and resources? What sort of journey can you plot out on that blank page before you?
God’s compassions are new every morning. Every morning! What an amazing promise. Can we say the same of our compassions, our grace and love, our energy to serve and share? Whatever you see on that blank page when you turn it over to January, believe in all the unseen gifts it contains, as well. God has each of your days planned, and filled with good things. New mercies, morning by morning. Whatever you think you know, whatever you expect or fear or hope may be coming, start your year off with the certainty of that promise. There is joy and new life to be found on each new page, and faith in the turning.