In Cordoba, Argentina, where I used to live, there's a food court in the lowest level of the Nuevocentro mall. There you can find a small cake shop, with slices of cake ready to be sold to shoppers. On some days, they have a cake with a great name: "Empiezo El Lunes," which means, "I start on Monday."
There's something about Monday that makes it special for beginning a diet. It's the start of the work week, a chance to try and do all the things we didn't get done the week before.
Yet Mondays can't hold a candle to New Year's Day. That's the time that we really feel like we have a clean slate. Turning the calendar page to a new week feels like it has meaning; beginning afresh with a whole new calendar seems even more significant.
We like that idea of starting over, of being able to face life unencumbered by past mistakes and old bad habits. The possibilities for change seem endless.
Of course, tossing the calendar doesn't really achieve that. The person we are in January is pretty much the same person we were in December.
Only God can make us new. Only God can wipe out the past. Only God can let us start over.
The apostle Paul wrote: "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4). It's what Jesus called being "born again" (John 3:3), where our old self gets left behind and we start a new life.
Whereas Mondays and Januarys don't really change things, the new beginning that God gives cleans off all of our past mistakes and allows us to begin a new life. We aren't the same people that we used to be. We've been reborn, born into God's Kingdom, born into God's family.
I'm so glad that God gave me a new start. What about you? If you are living God's new life, I hope that you are living it the way God wants. If you haven't started over yet, this new year is a perfect time to begin a new life.
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