It happens every year on the third Monday of January and supposedly is due to a combination of typically poor weather, failure to keep new year resolutions (again) and increased financial worries because of our Christmas spending. Whether or not people really feel sadder on that Monday than any other day in January is open to debate, but we all know something of the post-Christmas slump and those January blues.
After the excitement and festivities of the Christmas season, we find that the new year presents us with the same problems we struggled with last year. The fun and socialising have not satisfied that deep unsettledness in our souls. Despite our best efforts we are still not what we would like to be, and our latest plans for self improvement have faltered, if not failed. We still yearn for inner peace and meaning.
The Bible tells us the reason for this. We will never find true contentment until we return to God our Creator. No amount of new year resolutions or new experiences will give us what our hearts are looking for. Nor will we ever in our own strength be able to change our hearts. Only God can give us true satisfaction, changing us from the inside out. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37).
It is possible to live with joy not only during the “most wonderful time of the year”, but all year round. Why? Because at the heart of the Christmas story is One who has proven Himself to be God.
Rather than leaving the baby in the manger when we pack up our Christmas decorations, we should remember that He is the One who gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for sins when He was crucified outside Jerusalem. He stands unique in being the only One who has conquered death and, because He lives in the power of an endless life, we can come to know God and the reality of eternal life.
However, we can only experience this for ourselves by repenting of our sins and trusting the Lord Jesus alone to save us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Only then can we have a genuine hope for the future.
Each day we will be able to rise and rejoice in the wonder that “the Son of God . . . loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Only then can we know God’s transforming power in our hearts, and the freedom He brings from the sinful habits that used to enslave us. The Lord Jesus promised, “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). It is He alone who will enable us to face whatever each day brings with peace and joy, for He lives, He loves us and He is in control.