The Joy of a Brand New Page
January 3, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Good Morning! Happy New Year!
Our title and our topic today is: The Joy of a Brand New Page.
I wonder how many of you saw the ball come down on New Years Eve. Did anyone stay up and watch that? I did too. That is quite a sight. Looking at Times Square with all the people jumping around and all the lights blazing and there’s that beautiful ball of light that comes down the pole as the countdown proceeds. The ball starts to move slowly, ten, nine, eight, and I wonder what kind of feelings you had when you watched the ball come down. I confess I had a number of different kinds of feelings as I saw it starting to come down that pole. One of them was, “No, wait! Can’t we give the old year another try?” Maybe I can push it back up? But no I can’t. None of us can, that ball keeps falling. Five, four, three. And then there’s a feeling of hope, maybe there’s something new and good coming. But there are still all those ideas from the past that I am dragging with me into the New Year. But I still can’t stop it. Three, two, one, Happy New Year! The music plays and folks are hugging, and there is a joy and a celebration.
As we go into this New Year, friends, I have a special New Year wish for you.
My wish for you is that, as you wake up in the morning in this new year, you would know that you have a brand new page to write on.
I pray for you the joy of a brand new page.
You see, this is the day that the Lord has made, this is the year that the Lord has made, and we can go into the future with a sense of new hope and new promise that's symbolized by a fresh blank page to write on. I pray this for you.
Also, in this New Year, when you wake up in the morning, I hope you will think of the Scripture verse that we read in the book of Isaiah. It says this. “Arise, shine. For your light has come.” Say that with me, won’t you? “Arise, shine. For your light has come.” I pray that each morning of the New Year you would think of those words from the Bible, won't you? “Arise, shine. For your light has come.”
Let's reflect for a moment on the idea that Christmas is the time when God Himself turned a page! There is a single page in the Bible that separates the Old Testament from the New Testament, the partial way in which people thought about God to the fullness of the expression of God in Jesus Christ. At Christmas, God turned that page! Truly, the scripture of Isaiah was fulfilled for us all in Jesus Christ, and the Lord Himself was saying to all of us: “Arise, shine. For your light has come!”
At this time of the New Year, God has given you a brand new day and a brand new page to write on. What will you write on it? Think of all the freedom you have!
Here is the good news. You don’t have to carry the broken ideas from the past into the brand new year. You don’t have to write the regrets of the past on your brand new page.
Just as God did something new and wonderful in sending Jesus to us, God has given you something new in this new day and new year.
God has given you a new opportunity to:
• express the creativity within you;
• express the love that is within you;
• express the ideas that He has put into you;
• express the health and healing that He has for you;
• do all the good that He has put before you.
You can do it! The page is fresh and the page is new, and the coming day's page is blank. And God has given you the chance to write a new story in it.
I pray that you would hold this image in mind. Can you see a notebook filled with 365 fresh pages? On the top of the page in very light, beautiful printing, is written the words, “Arise, shine. For your light has come.” And at the bottom of the page, in very light, but beautiful printing, is written, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
As you write on those pages, God is going to give you the strength to express new things in the coming year.
We are all thinking about the old year and the things that have happened, some very wonderful and some very challenging and I pray now that you would take a look at the old year with me for a moment.
If you come to a page in the old
year entitled, Things I Didn’t Do So Well, it is there, but it is time to
turn the page to a fresh new one.
If you have a page that says,
Things I Wish I Had Done Differently, learn from it, but it is time to turn
the page to a fresh new one.
If you have a page that says,
Ways In Which People Hurt Me, bless and forgive, but it is time to turn that
page to a new one.
If there is a page that says, Opportunities That I Have Missed, know that God is giving you a new page to write on and new opportunities to pursue and to follow.
Take that note book of the new year, and gently place a crown upon it. On that crown is engraved the words, "Accepted". The events and the accomplishments of the year are now in the book. Let us accept them, celebrate them, and learn from them. The year is crowned.
And as you enter the New Year, ask the Lord Jesus to help you. He will help you fill in these new pages, boldly and positively and brightly. You are being given new strength and new opportunities, new energy and creativity with this New Year.
May this year bring you the joy of writing on a fresh, new page, and may it be your rising thought each morning. It is God’s gift to you, and to me. It's there because God loves you. I do too; have a wonderful week and a blessed New Year.
© 2009 Anthony J. Godlefski