January 1 is like a reset button. Every year, I can choose to push it or not. Need a fresh start? Push the reset button. Want to create new habits? Hit the button. Need to quit eating/drinking/smoking? Press the button. It is a magical moment at the genesis of each trip around the globe. When I fail at my resolutions I say, “Maybe next year” as if this day is the only chance I have to begin again.
Here at the end of 2020, we are ALL racing to push the reset button. We seem to think once it has been pushed all will be well, but that isn’t how it works. Changing the 0 to a 1 is not going to suddenly make everything better. As 2020 has demonstrated so effectively, the reset button doesn’t work on things outside of our control, like pandemics for example. A one day reset by itself cannot wipe away a country’s division or mass injustice. It cannot change the government or the economy.
I think of the first day of the year like when my phone goes wacky and I have to restart it, or when my computer is messed up and I need to reboot. When technology goes haywire like this, I pray a reboot is all I will need. If there is a bigger issue, I know it could be costly and require days of repair…if the problem is even repairable at all. Relief washes over me when the screen lights up with the simple push of a button.
I’m afraid we have false hope that Jan 1 is going to resolve all that has gone wrong in 2020. Like the reboot, we believe it was a blip on the screen and all will be well after this magical day of starting over. Unfortunately, like technology, it is not always a simple fix. This year has unearthed some foundational bugs, cracks in the hardware. I am afraid a reboot isn’t going to do the trick. We might have to scrap it all and start over from the beginning. More than an update. More than a quick fix or a work around. We need a completely new unit.
It starts with the heart, our hard drive. It begins with reviving kindness, empathy, and compassion. It starts with making a choice to let go of the heart-hardness which was exposed by this crazy year. The bitterness and unforgiveness have to be removed if we are to move forward. If we could push the reset button for the world we would, but we can’t. We can only push it for ourselves. We can only revive what WE have lost.
The good news is there is more than one reset button. Renewal is not limited to this one day each year. God’s mercy is new every morning. We have the opportunity to start fresh EVERY DAY. And if we ALL do that; the world will change. The reset button isn’t a date on the calendar, it is a choice of the heart. Need a new beginning? Push the button.