A new year always brings that fresh perspective of possibility. People use different descriptions: a new start, a fresh perspective, a new beginning, or a clean slate. All of which point to the joy of looking forward with hope.
Looking forward with hope is a wonderful way to describe what it means to live as a baptized child of God. That hope is for today, not just for the future. In fact, all the above descriptors could just as easily be describing how we are renewed every single day by the promises of baptism!
Luther taught that every baptized person should begin every new day by making the sign of the cross and proclaiming: “I am a baptized child of God”. In that proclamation, we are reminded that every day is a new start, a fresh perspective, a new beginning, and a clean slate. Every day is a new start not because the sun rises, but because of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and hope given in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 reads:
“So if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”
We get to live under that promise every day. Because of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven anew every day. I don’t know about you, but I often reach back to yesterday and pull all my old stuff into each new day. And yet, in Jesus, we are given a new birth every day! Living in the newness of that promise brings a peace, a joy, and a purpose like no other.
I have a sign in my office with the letters “TGIF” on it. It is not the ever-popular sentiment “Thank God it is Friday”. Rather, it is: Thank God I’m Forgiven: TGIF. It is a good way to begin and end each day, reminding ourselves that in Jesus, we have forgiveness and a fresh slate, a new start, a new beginning. We don’t need to wait for January each year for that clean slate and fresh start—we have that every single day. Thanks be to God!