Busting the Myth of the Magical Date

January 1 is not a magical date. Not even January 1, 2021. But that doesn't mean there isn't hope for the New Year.

By Liberty McArtor Published on January 1, 2021

As a kid I assumed I’d figure important things out at some magical moment.

I assumed I’d eventually outgrow my fear of the dark, for instance, by simply waking up braver one day. I assumed I’d understand more about God once I grew up. And obviously I’d become be a super famous writer with multiple credits to my name. I didn’t know how, but I was sure it would happen.

I still remember the moment I conquered my fear of the dark. It wasn’t magical, but a conscious decision. I was 10 or so, and deliberately marched through our large backyard one night with my head held high, resisting the urge to sprint back inside.

Thankfully I grew in my understanding of God as well, but not because I became an adult. It was because I realized I needed to be intentional about spending time with him and studying his Word.

I’m still waiting for the super famous writer thing to work out. I guess I need to stick with the principle I learned along the way — there is no magical date that makes things better.

What if 2021 Pulls a 2020?

Last January, when “coronavirus” was some vague disease plaguing the other side of the planet and it was still a little weird to see people wearing masks at the airport, I visited one of my best friends in St. Louis. We’re both planner types, so we giddily spent a whole evening writing down everything from hobbies we wanted to try in 2020 to detailed budgets. We thought nothing could blur our “2020 vision.”

No one could have anticipated the multiple challenges our nation — and the world — would soon face. No wonder everyone is so eager to embrace a new year.

Maybe we can’t force our external circumstances to change, at least not on a grand scale. But we can change, if we are in Christ.

But what if 2021 pulls a 2020? That is to say, what if things don’t automatically change just because the calendar does?

In truth, we don’t even need to ask “what if.” We can be certain that 2021 won’t be perfect, even if it is less tumultuous than 2020 — as I sincerely hope. There will be hardships; there always are in life. Many of us will still be healing from the traumas of 2020.

January 1 is not a magical date. Not even January 1, 2021.

New Mercies Every Morning

Thankfully, as my childhood taught me, we don’t have to wait for a magical date to make things better. We have a chance every single day.

Maybe we can’t force our external circumstances to change, at least not on a grand scale. But we can change, if we are in Christ.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we surrender to God, he renews us from the inside out. Most significantly this means just what it says — that we are new creations. Dead to sin. Alive to him. Saved. Clean. Holy. The byproduct is that our lives change, too. He gives us the strength to love better, to overcome sin, and to walk in our God-given purpose, regardless of what’s going on around us.

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Yes, we will mess up. But we needn’t wait until the next New Year’s Day to try again, thank God.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

As we step into 2021, we don’t know if things out there will get better. They definitely won’t get better just because it’s 2021. But we can make a renewed commitment to our Savior, and by his Spirit, make better what we can — starting fresh with each new sunrise.

 

Liberty McArtor, former staff writer for The Stream, is a freelance writer in the great state of Texas, where she lives north of Dallas with her husband and son. Follow Liberty on Twitter @LibertyMcArtor, or learn more about her at LibertyMcArtor.com.

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