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New beginnings

By Dan Etheridge

New Years resolutions are a right-old pain. But we all make them. Fair play to you if you got through the whole of last year keeping your resolution, but I suspect you’re an exception to the rule. I managed about a week of going without dirty fast food in 20202 and I’ve already dismissed 2021s attempt to reduce my caffeine intake by having 6 cups of tea on New Years day.

At New Year we make these amazingly good willed attempts at new beginnings and try to ignore what came before (it’d be nice to forget most of 2020, right?). But the thing is, and we all know it, what came before is important. We hope for new beginnings because of old problems or habits, but a new start or New Year doesn’t necessarily deal with those old problems.

We hope for new beginnings because of old problems or habits, but a new start or New Year doesn’t necessarily deal with those old problems.

Me, I’m a cynic. I don’t particularly want to be. I just can’t help it. Faced with the world we live in its hard not to be. I’ve started the New Year hoping to be less cynical, but my new beginning is getting dragged down by old ways of being, doing, seeing and thinking.

The thing is, my new beginning, is the not THE Beginning. The Beginning that I’m thinking of was told of by the writer of John’s gospel…

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning…”

The Word is Jesus. The Word is also a way of describing God’s voice, His action. The ‘God said’ from the creation bit of Genesis is God’s Word. God said things and they happened. Water, light, animals and land all came into being because God spoke and used His Word. John tells us Jesus was there at the beginning of all beginnings… The gospel of John tells us Jesus is God.

The writer of John goes on. He tells us, that the Word became flesh. God began again as one of us. Jesus was born, he lived, was put to death and raised from the dead. Another beginning – and one that is full of hope for us and for all our attempts at new beginnings, new years resolutions and the end to old ways of being.

Knowing Jesus, being in relationship with him and trying to follow him is our only way of gaining a real fresh start. It doesn’t always mean we will stick to all our new years’ resolutions, and sometimes we will fall back into old habits. But it does mean that God can help us deal with what came before, and stop us from getting stuck in old thought patterns, heal us from painful past experiences and help us change our bad habits to good ones. It might not all happen in 2021 though – God has a longer term plan and I get the feeling it will take a lifetime to actually help change me, and maybe you too…

The Author
Dan works part time with Open Doors, mainly sorting out the comms stuff for youth and students. In his other life he's a freelance writer and graphic designer who likes collecting records and sitting on beaches looking at waves.

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