In ancient Rome it was believed that Janus, their god of beginnings, had the ability to see in two directions at the same time. Janus, from where we get the name for the month January, was said to be able to simultaneously look at the past, as well as ahead to the future. The Romans gave his name to the first month of the year.
As January rushes in upon us like the north wind, it brings with it fresh and new possibilities. The New Year brings with it a new beginning, new starts. The New Year also brings with it uncertain questions of what lay ahead in the next twelve months. I am thankful as 2015 ends and 2016 begins that we serve a Lord not made with man’s hands like Janus, but a living God who became a man in Jesus, born in Bethlehem’s manger. I am thankful He has the ability to see both our past and our future. He knows the joys and heartaches we experienced in the year just past, and He walks by our side with strength and grace so we will not have to journey one step on the rocky roads of life alone.
Our Lord knows what 2016 will hold for each of us; paths that take us to the rarified air of joyful mountain tops or paths that find us descending into the fog of a deep valley. And more than likely 2016 will find us walking on both. Yet He says to us, “I will go with you and before you, and will empower and enable you to face whatever the New Year may hold.” Yes, He who was veiled in human flesh and called Emmanuel, meaning God with us, invades our every moment of every day with His divine presence.
Moses, who walked on mountains with angels and who, also, trudged through valleys of loneliness and despair, gives us an assuring promise that is especially appropriate as we embark upon a new year, “The eyes of the Lord our God are always upon [you], from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:12). Wow! Is not that a marvelous truth? Moses reassures us in this eternal promise of the Lord’s abiding presence in our lives every minute on every road we travel during 2016.
In the New Year, let us give the year to Him and receive His forgiveness for past failures, comfort for our heartaches, strength for our weaknesses, and peace for our confusion. As a fresh twelve-month calendar of days dawns upon us, bringing with it 365 new sunrises, let us place our hands in the hand of the ONE who sees all and who is able to give us power, courage, and confidence as we face the New Year, and each day of the year.
Blessings in the New Year,