Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The month of January takes its name from the ancient Roman god Janus, represented by a figure with two faces looking in opposite directions.  Janus was god of gates and doorways, overseeing comings and goings, endings and beginnings.

In ancient Rome, Janus would have been the symbol of year-end lists. 

As year of our Lord 2012 arrives, we first are invited by various organizations and groups to review  2011.  We are saturated with magazine and media images of the best and worst of the year past:  the most newsworthy people and noteworthy events of 2011; the top-grossing movies or most read books; the top 50 tragic or triumphant scenes; the most intriguing scandals; the faces of joy and sorrow in 2011.  It seems to be conventional practice to look back before we look ahead at 2012..

Looking ahead, on the other hand, er… face, brings mostly speculation while accentuating our need for hope that endures.  Thanks be to God, we CAN carry forward the spiritual gifts and values that saw us through years past.

The testimony to Jesus Christ in our New Testament is replete with lists of spiritual gifts and virtues that will see us through whatever the new year brings, among these:  Romans 5:1-5; I Corinthians 12:4-11; II Corinthians 6:6-7; Galatians 5:22-24 (Fruit of the Spirit); Ephesians 6 (The Whole Armor of God); Philippians 4:8-9; Colossians 12-16; I Thessalonians 5; I Timothy 4:12, 6:11; Titus 2; James 3:17-18; I Peter 3:8; II Peter 1:3-7; Jude 20-21. 

The apostles loved to list the old life with its practices better left behind – gossip, wrath, malice, etc.  But they also pointed forward gratefully to new life in Jesus Christ and listed the many gifts Jesus bestows on his disciples.  And the greatest of these [gifts] is love.  (I Cor. 13:13).

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