I have also been contemplating a lot today. My emotions are conflicted. Here I am, enjoying the first day of the new year, feeling excited, anticipating fresh starts, and feeling nervously hopeful about 2016. My mind races with thoughts of all the things I'm going to accomplish, all the things I'm going to change in my life, and oh yes, this year things are going to be different. I am immensely bothered by my feelings that are associated with the "new year". What makes me think that I should feel different today, feel like today matters more than yesterday? That the goals I make today are somehow different from the goals I could have made a week ago? I do this all the time. I'll start Monday. I'll start on the first day of the month, I'll start in the New Year. Rarely, do I think I'll start now in this moment. A new year guarantees none of this. It doesn't guarantee things will be different, easier, or more hopeful. There is much futility in it all unless it comes from a true change of heart.
My own confusion about it all is, well, confusing.
I suppose more than anything, the reason my emotions are so conflicted is because they reveal something about the state of my soul, something that is not very pretty. If my feelings of hope and fresh starts are so strongly associated with a date on the calendar, a "new year", do I really grasp and understand the concept of God's grace...His new mercies? His new mercies that are offered not just once a year, but every morning and every moment in which we are willing to surrender to Him, to repent, to ask for forgiveness. And isn't true hope a reality based on truth and not on feelings? I think it's apparent I have not yet fully grasped the depth of new mercies.
Still, I will make plans and goals. There is nothing really wrong with having goals as long as we hold our plans and goals with a loose hand and a heart surrendered, seeking His will and not our own.
And, I am so grateful that God doesn't offer fresh starts only on January 1st.