I’m not a perfect human. Regularly, I invoke the power of the do-over and make new beginnings in some area of life or another. At one point in life, I felt so much guilt about doing this that I found myself in urgent prayer to God. Just help me get it right so that I don’t have to start all over again constantly! But we were too far behind in our school work, and even though we homeschool year-round we needed a new beginning in the fall that year.
That’s when God revealed to me that He designed for us to have new beginnings every so often. He knows we’re imperfect creatures, and since He’s a good and loving God He gave us built-in new beginnings every year. In fact, there are three new beginnings (at least) on our calendar! Do you know what they are? There’s one in the winter, one in the spring, and one in the fall.
The Winter New Beginnings
Now, as I begin this blog post, I can already hear you readers out there arguing with me about starting with the winter new beginnings. Surely we should start with the spring! That’s the most obvious one, I think, to most people. But grant me just a bit of grace here and let me explain. The winter “new beginnings” is probably one that you’d think of if I hadn’t given you the seasons or started the way I did.
Happy New Year! (Now does it make sense? I thought it would!) This is the time of year when most of us re-evaluate our lives, come up with new goals for the year, and organize our space. It’s a time to overhaul our decorating as we gather up the celebratory decor, and find places for all the new gifts the giving season has brought. Maybe it’s a good time to get rid of some of the old stuff, throw it out or donate it to make room for the new.
It’s not a Biblically-ordained time of year, really, but it is a cultural one. Almost everyone in the United States does some sort of breath-taking new beginnings at the end of the calendar year. The celebration we’ve just had commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. For the family of that child, it was for certain a new beginning. It was a large event because they’d come a long way for the Roman census.
And if you’ve researched and come to the realization that this all happened in the autumn, I have good news! Calculate backward from that event nine months and you know what? It’s possible that God ordained that the world celebrate the arrival of the Messiah on the date of His conception instead of his birth as the world assumes! Cool, huh? So maybe it’s God-ordained even if it’s not jotted down in the Good Book. Take a deep breath, and let’s have a new beginning for the year!
The Spring New Beginnings
Spring is a time recognized for renewal and new beginnings because life blossoms once again and even us humans emerge from our cocoons of warmth and safety in order to breathe and enjoy all that the season brings. Did you know that God specifically ordained for spring to be a time for new beginnings?
In the winter, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. In the spring, we commemorate His death and celebrate the Resurrection. Culturally, America celebrates this as the holiday known as Easter; Biblically, the celebration meant to recognize this event is the Feast of Passover. In Exodus 12, God’s people are commanded to keep this celebration forever; we get it somewhat right in our Resurrection Day events. But there are things we have forgotten!
Have you ever heard the phrase “spring cleaning”? Did you know that it was Biblical? That’s right! I know you probably already thought about that spring cleaning as part of the new beginnings in this season. I remember reading this part of the Bible when I first read it cover-to-cover a few years ago, and being so convicted by it! (That’s the point of the Law, of course. It helps us to recognize that we are imperfect and that there is no way to keep up to God’s standard!) Exodus 12 verse 15 gives the main gist of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall [qremove leaven from your houses… Exodus 12:15 ~ nasb
In the traditional following of this verse, those who celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread – which is the week leading up to Passover – completely and thoroughly clean their homes. What would it take in your home to be sure that not even a crumb of bread remained? Vacuum the blinds, wash the curtains, take apart the furniture and vacuum it out, vacuum the mattresses, flip, vacuum again… for starters! That sounds like new beginnings to me, for sure. What’s on your spring cleaning list? Leave a comment below and let me know!
The Fall New Beginnings
If you follow a traditional school year, then you’re likely used to having new beginnings in the fall. Even for us year-round homeschoolers, it feels like a new beginning sometimes in that it’s a return to a routine after the haphazard goings-on of a busy, event-packed summer (or a lazy summer, some years). It’s time for new clothes, wardrobe change from the hot seasons to the cool ones, putting away of the swimming supplies and gathering up and sorting of the school supplies. We shop when the sales happen! Am I right?
Once again, the Creator God knows and anticipates all things and provided in His design new beginnings for us in the fall! It was in the fall when I felt so much guilt over having to start over with our schooling and our chore routines. My circle pooh-pooed my concerns, since that’s when many of them are starting all over again anyway, and it was God Himself who got hold of me and made me realize that it was okay to start over. It was a New Year!
Yes, I know. We celebrate our New Year at the end of December. But by God’s calendar, which follows the moon instead of the sun like our Gregorian calendar, the years start with the Feast of Booths (also known as Tabernacle). It’s around this time when the family of Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, and it’s around this time that Jesus was likely born. That’s an interesting study if you ever wanted to dig into it!
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish “new year,” is a time of solemn contemplation and humbling. Leviticus 23 refers to it as the Day of Atonement, and verse 31 is where God ordains that it be kept “for all generations.” This is a celebration of the creation and it’s when the civilian year number changes in Israel. The next 10 days, referred to as Yom Kippur in Jewish tradition, are a Biblical feast that Leviticus calls the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, and they are a time of celebration. Verse 41 is where God ordains that it shall be celebrated “for all generations.”
When you read about these holidays in the Bible, they are part of a list of feasts and holy days that Moses is being sent to tell the Israelites. Jewish culture has made their own traditions from them, but when we read it directly from the Word we can see the heart and intent of the Father. This celebration is about the harvest, and about being thankful for God’s provision. (Sound familiar to another fall holiday we keep?) I think this one sounds like it would be completely appropriate to go camping in celebration of God’s beautiful fall creation!
But if God ordains that at the anniversary of the creation of the world (tradition), His people stop to take account of their lives and humble themselves for a day, and then celebrate and feast and “camp out” for another 10 days, I think it’s fair to say that He’s giving us all a new beginnings and a season of do-overs! The traditional celebration of today counts these two holy days – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as the two most holy days of the year. It’s important to God’s heart that His people have this reset.
How to Start Over
Once God pricked my mind about His built-in new beginnings, and I realized that even our culture includes these in its own way, I no longer felt guilty about my inability to keep consistent for a full year let alone for multiple years. God gave us new beginnings because He knows that we’re imperfect and can’t even follow our own plans as we’d hoped. So let me encourage you today, mama!
Write out those goals at New Year’s. Make your plans, and take time to do it! The week between Christmas and the New Year is a fantastic opportunity to plan your new beginnings every year. Take time in the spring to do that major cleaning! Take a couple of days at least and really get the house completely clean, because there’s a spiritual component and mental release that comes with it.
And in the fall, take the time to recognize and get out into God’s creation. Evaluate how you’re doing in your goals of all areas of your life, and make it a point to write out any adjustments that need to be made in order to finish what God has ordained for you before the holiday season. Do all of this without condemnation or sorrow, because the Lord is content with new beginnings so much that He ordered us to use them. He’s the God of second chances!
DaLynn McCoy is a 13 year homeschooling mom with five children, including one graduate and four students. Having been a Christian her entire life, DaLynn enjoys finding practical ways to utilize the Word of God in her life so that she can share that growth with others. She is a blogger and will relaunch two separate blogs this spring! She covers topics from homeschooling and home keeping, to Bible study, health and food, crafts and planning, and more. Click here to sign up to be notified when her sites go live!