Land of Beginning Again
"I wish there were some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again, where all our mistakes, all our heartaches and all of our poor selfish grief could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door, and never be put on again."
I don't know who said those words — they were in an old church newsletter I came across recently. But they effectively describe what each new year brings: a land of beginning again. Practically everyone makes a list of resolutions at the beginning of each new year, an inventory of what we would like to do better or different in days to come.
Even though this new year is already a month old, it would be very good for each of us to take inventory in our lives. Let's see where we fall short spiritually and then resolve to press forward in the strength Christ gives us to prepare our hearts and lives for His soon coming.
Ellen White made a similar new year appeal. "A new year has commenced. What has been the record of the past year in your Christian life? How stands your record in heaven? I entreat you to make an unreserved surrender to God. Have your hearts been divided? Give them wholly to the Lord now. Make a different life history the coming year from that of the past. Humble your souls before God. ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.' Put away all pretense and affectation. Act your simple, natural self. Be truthful in every thought and word and deed, and ‘in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.' Ever remember that the moral nature needs to be braced with constant watchfulness and prayer. As long as you look to Christ, you are safe; but the moment you think of your sacrifices and difficulties, and begin to sympathize with and pet yourself, you lose your trust in God and are in great peril." Ellen White, Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 4, p. 521.
This year, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Demonstrate your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forget a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Refuse envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind and be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against hate. Speak out against complacency. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Make a child happy. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.
It's not too late to find the Land of Beginning Again. Most of this new year still awaits like a clean piece of paper, with nothing yet written. On it you can compose a tragedy or a triumph. It is up to you.