Yes, the first week of 2012 is drawing to a close, marking the end of the beginning of the new year. Beginnings and endings are really two sides of the same coin; you can’t have one without the other. It is only when we recognize that an ending is never truly the end that we can anticipate the beginning that is to come. That’s not to say that endings are without pain. Pain is a part of this beautiful, broken world in which we live. Yet pain can lead to growth and new life.
I think of the Creator breathing and speaking all that is into being and then allowing humankind to steward it. Talk about pain! We must cause GOD great pain when we abuse or ignore one another, when we plunder the land, rivers, and seas, and when we take for granted the many gifts we have been given through no merit of our own. Yet the Creator remains with us, promising never to forsake us, offering new beginnings again and again and again.
When Moses, leader of Israel, transferred leadership to Joshua, he spoke these words of hope and promise to the people, reminding them that every ending leads to a new beginning:
Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your GOD who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. — Deuteronomy 31:6
No matter what this first week of 2012 has brought you–joy, hope, delight, pain, regret, or a combination thereof–tomorrow a new day dawns bringing a fresh start and a new beginning. Be ready to seize the day. Be ready for a new opportunity for “thanks-living.”
For Further Reflection
Think about the verse above from Deuteronomy. If possible take time to read Moses’ entire message to the people and Joshua (Genesis 29:2 – 31:8). Reflect on the beginnings and endings you have experienced so far in your life. Are you able to see a pattern of how new things have sprung from old ones, how pain has brought you to a place of newness and joy? We cannot divine the future. We can live only in the present. We can only understand by looking backwards. Give thanks to God for endings and beginnings. Resolve to make the second week of this new year another week of walking in thanks, joy, and the grace of God. That, dear friends, is the heart of thanks-living.