The ancient Romans called the first month of the year January, naming it after the Roman god Janus. You see, Janus has two faces. One face looks back at the year past, and this face is filled with sorrow and dismay and perplexity; the other face looks forward to the new year with hope and cheer and confidence. This cycle repeats year in and year out, with the new year becoming the old and optimism turning to despair.
On New Year's Eve, you can feel the excitement in the air. It's almost electric. But as those two faces of Janus reveal, it's short-lived. A funny thing happens a couple weeks into January: People begin to realize that the problems they had last year followed them. Whatever catharsis they received from saying goodbye to the old year and ringing in the new one has faded away.
We are free to praise God and thank Him for the ups and downs of life.
However, we who love Jesus Christ don't have to tie our hope to a new year, nor do we have to wallow in grief when that new year disappoints. That's because the God we serve is the same "yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). He is the God who overrules our past sins and forgives our trespasses. He rules over the present, and He also guarantees our future.
Because this is true, it doesn't matter what date it is. Whether it's January 1 or December 31 or any day in between, we can spend every day thanking and praising the Lord for each circumstance that comes our way. We are free to praise God and thank Him for the ups and downs of life. We can worship and be grateful on good days and bad. We can bless the Lord for the joys and for the sorrows. Why? Because God's promises to us are as sure as God Himself.
Here's one of the greatest promises in the Bible: God says to us, His children, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). This promise was for last year. This promise is for this year. This promise is for all our future years, whether we are here on earth or with Him in eternal glory. Whatever the future brings, those of us who love God and follow His Son can have peace and confidence, for our God will never leave us.
Prayer: Father, I praise You for the promise of Your enduring presence. What a gift to have the Lord of all on my side, orchestrating all things for my good. I give You all the glory for the peace and hope I have in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Marking the New Year: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW