Devotion and Prayer for Week of January 1, 2012

Meditation for the week beginning January 1, 2012


What is so happy about Happy New Year?


I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeon, but what makes January 1 a cause for celebration? After all it is just one day beyond December 31st, and the weather is not instantly gotten better.  We didn’t all get to head to a tropical island for the rest of the winter. The vast majority of us did not win the lottery, nor did anybody show up on our door and give us a million dollars.  In thinking about the good things that happen there is a big parade televised from usually sunny Pasadena, CA.  And it is a day for college football fans extraordinar.  Except this year not even those things are happening.  Since January1 falls on a Sunday it is a pro-football day and all of the college games get pushed off to Monday.  Add to that the BCS system of games and you find the bowl games spread out for a week.  So I repeat my question, what is so happy about Happy New Year?


The point of my question is to raise the issue that the things of this world can and do often disappoint us.  One day can be just like another and even though the calendar changed, not much else changed.  What makes a difference in our lives are not the things of this world, but the things of God.  Think about it, we get mired down in our daily lives and find that we once again have sinned and done things that are not pleasing in God’s sight.  But each and every morning we have a new day, a new opportunity to live as forgiven children of God.  We can begin our day washing our face, taking a shower or bath and washing away the dirt of the previous day.  So too we can come to God confessing our sin and seeking his forgiveness, drawing on the power of our baptism and we have a new day, a clean day, a day that is open to us to live anew, afresh and in the power of the Triune God.


If we take that approach on January 1, then we can say truly it is a happy new day, the first day of a happy new year, one in which we will focus not on material or earthly things, but rather on the things of God, his will and his way.


Remember how in Matthew’s Gospel, Peter makes that wonderful confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. (Mt 16:16)  But right after that when Jesus tells the disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, be arrested, tried and killed, but on the third day He will rise from the dead.  Peter got mired and focused on the things of men and told Jesus that the disciples would never let that happen. And Jesus rebukes Peter and calls him Satan because at the New Living Translation put it. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s.” (Mt 16:23)


You don’t have to wait until January 1 to begin to have new happy days.  Nor is the ability to have a happy new day, a happy new year restricted to one specific day of the calendar.  Our baptismal grace makes a new day, a happy new day available to us each and every day of our lives.  Put your mind on the things of God, put the things of man in it their proper place, as secondary to the things of God. Seek renewal, repentance, and forgiveness on a daily basis. Live in the glory, grace, mercy and love of God as given to us in Jesus Christ, and each day will be a happy new day, making up a happy new year.

Weekly Prayer

 O Lord God, how great You are, because of Your compassion, which never fails.  Your mercy is given to me every morning, great is Your faithfulness.  Be with me, God, throughout the coming year.  Be my guide in all my difficulties, my strength in times of weakness, my ever ready help in time of troubles. Thank You for the forgiveness of sins You give me daily.  Now Lord please be my companion and grant me Your mercy, grace and love.  Keep my spirit, soul and body blameless until the coming again of my Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen