The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul.
– G.K. Chesterton
We have had considerable winter already in the northwest with a white Christmas that soon melted away and then snowfall again on New Year’s Eve. It has been beautiful – a welcome change from our typical winter rain and mud-fest. It is natural to desire an overnight transformation of the old and dirty to something new and beautiful: an all clean pristine white cottony sheet covering thrown over everything making it look completely different than before.
Similarly, at the tick of the clock past midnight on New Years’ Eve, we hope for just such an inner transformation as well, a fresh start, a leaving behind of the not-so-good from the past and moving ahead to the surely-it’ll-be-better in the future.
But it usually doesn’t stick, despite a flurry of good intentions and a skiff of newness plopped down here and there. Even if we find ourselves in the midst of blizzard conditions, unable to see six inches ahead and immobilized by the furious storms of life, that accumulation eventually will melt, leaving behind even more mud and raw mess.
It isn’t how flawless, how clean, or how new this year will be, but rather how to ensure our soul transformation stays whole and pure, unmelting from within, even when the heat is turned up and the sweat drips. This is not about a covering thrown over the old and dirty but a full blown overhaul in order to never to be the same mess again.
I lift my eyes to the hills where the snow stays year round: sometimes more, with a few hundred new inches over several weeks, or sometimes less, on the hottest days of summer. Our new souls this new year must be built of that same resiliency, withstanding what each day may bring, cold or hot.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…transformation that sticks within my soul.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
~James Nicholson (hymn chorus)