I love this time of year, not because of the weather but because of the row after row of back to school stuff in the shops. Lovely unused and un-chewed pencils, colourful notepads and crisp clean exercise books. Best of all are the empty clean calendars and diaries – they are what makes back to school aisles so much more fun in January than in September. A year of empty pages lie ahead waiting for important reminders and plans to be made. I put up my new calendar in my office this morning with extra prestick (blue tack) as the first month is usually a fight between my calendar and gravity. I have filled in birthdays and important dates. This month’s picture in my Faith Mission bookshop calendar is a frozen Shaw’s Bridge scene – perfect to look at in the heat of a Cape Town January. I also love throwing out the old calendar – it is so symbolic of 2010 being in the past now – good or bad there is nothing that can be done or undone. 2011 lies before me like a fresh start, full of potential.
But I am reminded that this fresh-start clean-slate feeling is not exclusive to New Year. David reminds me that a clean slate is a wonderful thing and is only a confession away:
Psalms 32:1-5 A David psalm. Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be– you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. 2 Count yourself lucky– GOD holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him. 3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. 4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. 5 Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.” Suddenly the pressure was gone– my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (The Message)
It is by the grace of God that we don’t need to wait for a New Year. We don’t need to store up our sins and failures, carrying them through to the end of the year. I’m pretty sure that 2011 will be a year when I sin and fail, but I am grateful to God that when that happens the year is not ruined or lost as at anytime He offers me forgiveness in response to my confession and admission to Him. So today I enjoy my new calendar and my New Year, but I am reminded to enjoy my God whose mercies are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 GOD’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. 23 They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! (The Message)
So Happy New Year and Happy New Day.