The “official” start of winter is mid- December, followed quickly by Christmas, upon whose heels tramps the end and beginning of a new year. For many the symbol of the departing year is an old man, usually looking much more worse for the wear than we want. The new year is then symbolized as a newborn baby.
Ah…..New baby, new life, someone has hit the restart button…some even view a new year’s fresh beginning as a “redo”. For them it is a chance to “get it right”. Many spend considerable time and effort analyzing what they’ve done wrong and setting goals or resolutions for “fixing” themselves, their mates, their families, their lives, marriages, careers…even their spiritual lives…their relationships with God.
It seems ironic to me, that we begin a “new year” as the season of winter swings in. New starts seem more symbolically represented in spring. Right? New leaves are sprouting, new flowers are blooming, farmers ready their fields and sow their seeds, birds that flew south for the winter return from where they came, and Easter arrives on the calender. Easter is filled with symbols of new starts, new beginnings. I am sure if I bothered to research who set our calendars, divided the hours, months, days I would see the reasoning. But, for this article it seems a moot point. We observe our calendar’s new year when the earth around us is dormant.
I always think of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 when observing the time the calendar tells me it is a new year.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time to war and a time for peace.”
This year, as I type out the words of my favorite passage of God’s Word, I am thoughtful that even in winter, our lives go on. Unlike seeds that are dormant in the ground or animals that hibernate so that they slow down or arrest their growth, our bodies keep growing and dying. Our hearts fall in love and they break. Every action, word, thought has a light and a dark period.
The calendar doesn’t have to dictate our new year, our new start, our season or activity. For me this is both a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to speak and a time to be silent…
I pray it is the same for you. As 2012 ends, 2013 begins and we are who we are and we are in whatever season God has lead us to. Perhaps right now I have more to mourn and weep over than to dance and laugh about. Perhaps I have a lot to speak about or to be silent about. This is the time to which God has called me. Let it be!
Happy New Year, whether you are preparing for spring and dormant for a while, or bursting with fresh air to start anew, harvesting the fruits of your labors in the crisp fall air or preparing for the cold weather ahead, whatever your season, God is as near as you invite Him to be. God bless.