A couple of days ago, i posted about the removal of our Christmas decorations from our home and how this is always upsetting to me. i sought to focus on how the restoration of our home to normalcy--in the sense that decorating for Christmas is a special event, something out of the ordinary--is important to my wife, and i tried to set aside my usual anxieties about packing all the decorations away and focusing on meeting her needs. By the second day of this chore, i was much more relaxed about it and could take joy in seeing the normal appearance of our house restored.
As i thought about the new year that begins today this morning in my readings, prayers, & meditation, it suddenly came to me that this restoring of our home to its usual appearance and the subsequent cleaning up is a symbol of the new beginning that the start of a new year offers. By removing the Christmas decor, we are marking the end to the celebration which concludes the old year and preparing our home for the new year and its promise.
Two other images came to me as i sat in the quiet of the early morning. One was of how each new day is like a clean slate that God has given us, just as the new year is a clean slate full of opportunity and optimistic expectations. The past is gone, and we begin afresh, asking God to lead us and order our lives. When i attended school, we used old-fashioned chalk boards. i can remember what fun it was to erase those big green boards, then to take a damp cloth and remove the chalk dust residue, leaving a shiny green surface on which the teacher could write. Each new day is like that. The residue of the past has been wiped away, and the slate that is our lives is ready for fresh learning.
If you have read many of my posts, you are aware that one of my great loves is bike riding. Each time i begin to ride, i am excited about new experiences, even though i usually follow the same bike trail each time i ride. There are always new things to see and new thoughts to think during the ride. i thought this morning of what a great adventure it would be to climb on my bike and just ride as long as i want for as far as i want, without the constraints of a time limit that i usually must abide by. My thought this morning was that the new year is just such an adventure. Even though the year will come to an end, at the beginning of the year, the days stretch out before us in a long procession and the end seems to be far distant. What new experiences, thoughts, and learning await us during this coming year? What adventures are there for us to enjoy if we are open to them?
May your new year be a great adventure and may each day be a clean slate ready to be filled with marks that bring you joy and satisfaction.