New start

Rev. Ron Burcham, Risen Savior Lutheran Church

Have you ever noticed that Father Time is depicted as a very aged man on December 31, but then at the stroke of midnight, he is now a diapered baby with a bonnet on his head? First of all, what’s with the bonnet on his head? Those went out decades ago. No parent is going to put a bonnet on their newborn baby. A little baseball cap, sure. A knit hat with the logo of their favorite sports team – you bet. A bonnet? Not a chance.

Anyway, back to the sudden change from old and decrepit to young and full of life. Now wouldn’t that be great? On December 31 at 11:30 p.m. you get up out of your easy chair, which sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies with milk (Snap, Crackle, Pop). This is the third time in the last two hours that you left your easy chair, because you needed to use the bathroom! You don’t grumble and you don’t despair, because you know what midnight is going to bring. So, you hobble to the bathroom and then return to your chair. Then it happens… the twelfth chime on the grandfather clock sounds, and suddenly you’re young again! No creaking joints or iron bladder.

Isn’t this the allure of New Year’s Eve celebrations? Not that we will go from being very old to very young in an instant, but that the new year symbolizes hope and a new beginning. If we can make it until midnight and the clock chimes, we will have a fresh start. Maybe this year we won’t have so many medical issues, we will be smarter with our money and our relationships will mend.

Of course, the difference between 11:59 p.m. on December 31 and 12:00 a.m. on January 1 is just one minute. Nothing magical happens. We pass from one day to the next and do our best to write the correct year when we date a document.

There is a source of hope, strength and courage – it’s available at any time – not just once a year. It is not in Father Time but, instead, in our Heavenly Father. The Prophet Isaiah said this:

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.”

Waiting for the clock to strike midnight will garner you nothing but the passing of time. When we wait on the Lord, we do not wait in vain. He has never broken a promise. Never! He promises to always be with us, to give us strength that we otherwise would not have and to give us hope for the future. In Him every day is a new start!