December 31, 2018
New Year’s Eve – the last day of an old year and traditionally a day to celebrate in some way the coming of a new year. The reason that the month coming up is named January is that the Roman god Janus was the god of beginnings, gates and doorways.
What does that information have to do with Christians struggling with grief and other problems at this time of year? Janus had two faces, one looking backward and one looking forward, and perhaps we Christians can learn something from him.
All of us struggling with darkness know that we need to look forward to the light, to the promise of tomorrow, and most of all to God’s promises. Walking with Jesus means moving forward, necessitating looking forward so that we don’t trip over the dark things of the past.
However, we also need to look backward -- not to dwell on hard things that happened or to mire in sorrows, but to summon precious memories, to honor those things which made us who we are and made our loved ones a strong part of our lives. With our family, our son who died had a January birthday, so we are guaranteed to look back at birthday memories of him.
What captured my thoughts today, though, is that Janus was the god of doorways. My grandmother’s favorite picture of our Savior is the one where he stands at the door entwined with vines and knocks. The scripture comes from Revelation 3:20, which says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hear my voice and open the door, I will come in unto him and sup with him, and he with me.”
So while we are eating, drinking and making merry this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we listened for His voice, opened the door, and treasured the rest of His promise! Can the Lord Jesus be at our New Year’s table? He said that if we gather in His name, He will be in the midst of us.
I wish for you these two days of remembering, looking forward, and answering Jesus’ knock so that He can be truly present in your New Year’s celebrations and all your lives.