By Bob Zoellner

Let’s face it, this past year was one for the books.

A horror novel, most likely.

Many people are looking forward to the new year with vigor, preferring to put 2020 behind them for many reasons. At the top of the list is the coronavirus and the election fiasco, but those issues will continue to follow us into the new year.

For people of faith, a new year dawns with promise. It’s the perfect time for reflection, celebrating God’s faithfulness through the good times and His sustenance and peace through the bad. It brings a renewed sense of hope that He is still in control, and that we can face whatever the coming year brings.

It’s a time to right wrongs, and a time of confession, repentance and resolve to live life to the fullest. It’s also a time to reaffirm our faith in the One who holds the future, and a time to live in grace.

Peter, after denying his Lord three times, was reinstated to fellowship with Christ after the resurrection, as Jesus made it clear he was forgiven (see John 21). Tasked by the Lord to “feed my sheep,” not long afterwards he addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost, and the church age was born.

The Apostle Paul, who previously had been a persecutor of Christians, became the messenger to the Gentiles and author of half of the new testament. Talk about new beginnings.

When Jonah ran from God, it wasn’t long before he was swallowed by a great fish. After a brief time of solitude, Jonah was spit up onto dry land. Finally following in obedience (even though his attitude didn’t necessarily follow suit), he was able to atone for his foolish trek in the opposite direction of where he should have been headed.

Thankfully, 2020 is over. For many of us, it’s had its challenges, frustrations, difficulties and parts we’d just as soon forget. But God is a God of second chances, of redemption, of grace and truth. His mercies are new every morning.

And thankfully, “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17, CEV).

So be it.