All Is Quiet on New Year’s Day…

…a world in white gets under way. Or so says the famous song by U2. A quick check of the weather map and we see that Bono’s bellowed report is confirmed in Missoula, MT with a brisk 10 degrees and snow. Over in Coeur D’Alene, ID they are getting some of that same system. Looks like the folks in Albuquerque NM are getting hammered with a big snow storm while over in Colorado, oddly, there is just a teense of the white stuff at the eastern edge of the state.

Here in East Tennessee the new year gets under way in more of a washed-out gray.

The beauty of snow isn’t the freezing temps needed to make it, it’s not the slippery crust that has to be carefully negotiated to get the mail, or even the bent limbs and downed power lines. No, the beauty of snow is its whiteness. A solid snow brings a quiet stillness as the white blanket covers everything. All the ugliness, all the dirt, all the gray of winter is suddenly washed out in a sea of white. Even a snow cynic like me must hush and breathe in the scene.

A good snow is like wiping the slate clean. A blank page.

We people like to proclaim new beginnings. We all appreciate a fresh start, a chance to try it all over. Maybe this time we can do better, we tell ourselves, maybe this time I won’t fail. This year I will see health, happiness, prosperity. Wild success, amazing love, even greatness, all with the turn of the calendar page.

One of my friends on social media wished us all a “Preposterous New Year.”

I don’t know if autocorrect did her in. Or maybe she is a prophet of truth. But I like the sentiment – why can’t my new beginning, my fresh start, my do-over be preposterous? Why not have a crazy, wild, insane, over-the-top – Preposterous! – new year?

Heck, yeah.

Here we are at the beginning again. A year with the odd number of 2019. I want to think it’s a bit arbitrary, the calendar of days, weeks, months, years. I mean, why not June 1st as the restart? How about my birthday, March 8th? Why not a fiscal year, like the corporations do or October like the military? But then I’m reminded of this:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

It turns out we need the ordered flow of events, the structured calendar of our existence. I can rebel all I want, push back convention and rage against the machine. But I am programmed for order. And, after all, I, we, should see it as a relief and a blessing that we get to push the reset button every trip around the Sun. It may be looking bleak on Day 365 but look! A flurry of activity, a jeweled ball drops, corks are popped – and just like that, it’s Day 1.

The phrase “white as snow” occurs eight times in the Bible, spanning from the early Old Testament to the end of the New. The reason is simple, the message is clear. White as snow is purity, fresh, unadorned. White is a blank life ready to be written on, refined and prepared. And the good Lord gives you that opportunity any time you want it, anytime you are ready.

“Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!” Isaiah 1:18

Bono was right – all is quiet on New Year’s Day. There is a world of white, ordained that way by forces much greater than us, a blank page we haven’t managed to corrupt with our typos. Today is your day of new beginnings. Today starts another adventure around that ball of fire and you have 365 days to do right, excel, thrive, win, gain, love, live and even be preposterous.

Happy New Year.

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