Christmas is past, and now we look forward to the new year. I have to admit that I have been described as a "stick in the mud" when it comes to the celebration of New Year’s Day. That is especially true in light of my view of Christmas.
I remain a child at heart during the Christmas season. I love the decorations, the music, the gifts and all of the other things that make it "the most wonderful time of the year." I listen to the radio station that plays all Christmas music, and I sing along with every song. I rattle the gifts under the tree with my name on them. And I love to buy for others, especially for my two sons.
But New Year’s Day is another matter. I usually ring it in by snoring as loudly as possible. I rarely stay up later than 11 pm. I remember staying up one time, a number of years ago. I was unimpressed. I would rather get a good night’s sleep and be up early the next day in order to take in the parades and football games that will fill the TV screen.
But I do know this about New Year’s Day. It represents for all of us a fresh start. Have you ever needed a new opportunity? I’m a golfer. Perhaps those who have played with me would disagree. Maybe I should simply say that I enjoy trying to play the game. One of my favorite aspects of the game is the "mulligan." Some people give a "mulligan" for each nine holes. That way, when I send the inevitable drive into the woods or lake (or even into the picture window of someone’s living room), I can get another chance. A "mulligan" is the same as a "do-over."
I need the occasional "mulligan" in life, too. When I say something unkind to my wife, or snap too quickly in judgment of one of my sons, or when I get frustrated in traffic, I have to admit that a "do-over" can be quite welcome.
And here is the greatest news of all. The God we serve is a God of second chances. That’s why Jesus came. You and I have the opportunity to have a fresh start in life. That is why we use the phrase "born again" to describe the Christian experience. God makes us brand new people. As you celebrate the New Year, consider if you need a "mulligan" in life. God graciously offers you the chance to start over. Take Him up on His offer, and allow 2008 to be your best year yet.