There was a time that the month of January was not named. The winter months went nameless. It wasn’t until around 450 BC that January 1 became the beginning of the New Year. Ianus is a Latin word that means door or gateway and is the inspiration for the word January. Janus (Ianus) is a god of Roman mythology whose statue is always represented with two faces, one facing forward and one looking back. .
I suppose the idea of resolutions which began around 153 BC comes from the notion of gates and doors, entrances and exits, beginnings and endings. I suppose the notion of looking back and seeing what needed improvement caused the tradition of amending our lives to arise to a new way; that is repentance. It is also a time to remember what we have done that was good and helpful and resolve to keep doing it.
Thinking about the New Year in ways of starting over or starting something new prompts us to wonder what God is preparing to offer us in the New Year. God is always working to give us good things and the insight to find grace in all things continue to gather in the name of Christ. And what are we preparing to give to God this year.
God has shown his love and gratitude to the people of Our Redeemer primarily through our heartfelt worship, through the growth of our congregation and through the tireless work and success of so many people. God continues to bless us with the joy of children and the wisdom of elders. We are remarkably blessed in so many ways that are obvious and we are sure that there are blessings even in ways we have not yet seen.
In the trust and faith we have in God, the gates and doors of the New Year will open new and wonderful possibilities for the church. We are strong, determined, faithful and joyous people. These gifts of the Holy Spirit carry us into a New Year of promise and hope.
I don’t usually make resolutions but I offer this one. I resolve to remember that God’s love is immeasurable; that we have been given all we need to be a powerful presence as a church and as a people; that we have the will to offer the love we have for one another to the whole world. I resolve to remember that in Jesus Christ we are never alone; that our work is blessed and that we follow the model of compassionate love he offers us. I resolve to remember that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can continue to be strong and steadfast in our work as a people of God.
Happy New Year, Dear Friends!