At this beginning of another new year I am reminded how I delight in new beginnings. From crisp clean sheets, to soft new stationery, to a clean page, to a new dress or just a new discovery. A fresh start fills my heart with hope. 2009 offers a potential new beginning to heal the heartaches of racial conflict as we inaugurate a new President. Our first African-American President will place his hand onthe Lincoln’s bible, symbolically affirming the reality of the American Dream. Failures in the past can be forgiven. Changes in the present demonstrate to a watching world that as a country we are willing to begin again, to restore,and to change. Whatever your political bent, we can unite in affirming this historic opportunity. As Christians we worship a God of new beginnings, of new birth, new days, new opportunities. Lamentations 3:23 reminds us of God’s mercies new every morning and His great faithfulness. Isaiah 43:19 mirrors God’s creativity as He promises a new thing for his people. II Cor. 5:17 echoes the promise of becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus. Another promise of new, growing more attractive to me daily, is of a new body, especially as mine is wearing out. (I Cor. 15:54-55)Last, but certainly not least important, Jesus provides cleansing from sin that gives us a new fresh start no matter how badly we have marred our lives. (I John 1) As we approach 2009 read Psalm 51, written from the broken heart of a liar, adulterer, and murderer. From it we gain confidence to bring our too present sin to Him for forgiveness, cleansing and a new beginning. Notice in verse 13 that the result of a new beginning is a desire to share God’s faithfulness with others. Fresh experiences of mercy prepare our hearts to be merciful to others as well.