This is an exciting time. It is the beginning of a brand new year – 2019. Some people like to make New Year’s resolutions or promises to themselves about what they plan to accomplish in the New Year. The number one resolution that people make is, “I am going to lose weight.” I don’t think too many people succeed since it seems to be the number one resolution year after year. I know that it usually makes my top ten list of things I would like to accomplish in the New Year, but I still weigh about the same!
Even if you don’t make any New Year’s resolutions, this is still an exciting time. It is a time that we can forget our past mistakes and look forward to new opportunities that lie ahead of us. It is a time of new beginnings.
Jesus experienced times of new beginnings in his life too. One of those times was when He was baptized. (Luke 3: 21-22) Jesus was baptized by John the Baptizer that we talked about a few weeks ago in the Jordan River. There were a couple of very important things that happened when Jesus was baptized. First of all, the Bible tells us that the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove and landed upon Him. The second thing was that God spoke and said, “You are My Son. I love You, and I am well-pleased with You.”
This event marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth. Up until that time, He had not performed any miracles, but with God’s stamp of approval and with the spirit of God upon Him now, Jesus began to perform great miracles. From this new beginning, many people began to understand that Jesus was truly the Son of God, and they began to follow Him.
Our own baptism represents a new beginning for us, as well. When we are baptized, it shows the world that just as Jesus raised from the dead through the glory of God the Father, we also live a new life in Him. (Romans 6:4) God may not always be well-pleased with some of the things we do, but I think that He looks down with an approving smile when He sees us trying to walk with Jesus.
New beginnings — God gives us opportunities for new beginnings every year and every day. Let us make the most of them as we live a new life in Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Let’s say a prayer together. Dear Father, thank You for new beginnings. Help us to make the most of them — not through our own strength — but through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.