Janus is the ancient Roman god of beginnings and transitions. He is the god of gates, doors, and of passageways. Janus presided over any beginning—the beginnings of life, war, marriage, adventure or journey, whether abstract or concrete , sacred or profane. January 1 was consecrated to Janus since it was the first day of the New Year. He was the god of the New Year and new beginnings. It is no wonder that the first month of the year, January, is named after him.
Unlike the ancient Romans, we do not need a pantheon of gods responsible for the different movements and events of our lives. We have one God who is above all things. Our God is Yahweh, creator of the heavens and the earth. This God is involved in beginnings. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Gen. 2:4). Our God is the Word made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being” (John 1:1-3). Unlike Janus, our God is not part of a fraternity of gods, but the one great and powerful God who made all things and rules over all things.
Yahweh God is not just the God of beginnings, but he is the God of new beginnings as well. God sent his Son, Jesus, to provide us with a new beginning, a new life, a new reality. In Christ, we get a second chance at life. God removes the past from us, the old life passes away and a new life begins. Regardless of things we have done or left undone, said or left unsaid, God in Jesus offers us a do-over, a mulligan (for you golfers).
2015 was a difficult year for our world, our nation, our communities and our families. Many tragic and unexpected things came our way. Yet, 2015 also was a year of joys, celebrations, and blessings. 2016 may or may not be any different. What will make it different will be our approach to this New Year. It is an opportunity to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. Our God, the God of new beginnings, is always doing a new thing. We can live our lives dreaming of the good old days, which never really existed, or we can open ourselves to the new possibilities and new opportunities of service and ministry before us.
The God of new beginnings and second chances goes into this New Year ahead of us. May we follow with open hearts, open eyes, and open minds, that we may be transformed by the transforming power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.
May your new year be filled with blessings and joy.