God is always with us and He always loves us.
But not all time is the same. There are times and occasions at which grace is more abundant, and during which we can receive a particularly strong impetus toward the holiness to which we are all called. The dawn of a New Millennium is one of those times.
The first point to keep in mind is that the past is past, and not even God can change it. If God Himself cannot change the past, we should not worry about trying. Some people practice a ritual of tearing up a calendar of the year that is ending. Let us resolve not to carry unnecessary burdens from the past into the future. "You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins" (Micah 7:19). One preacher has added the comment, "He then puts up a sign that says, No Fishing!"
Another helpful perspective is that we can change. Some say, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Yet one big difference between dogs and people is that people have access to grace. The grace of God is abundant, and it's powerful. We are given the very same Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of creation and brought order out of chaos, who hovered over the womb of Mary and brought forth the conception of Christ, and who hovers each day over bread and wine and transforms them into the very same Christ. This Spirit is the one who will raise our very bodies from the dead! How, then, can we fail to doubt that He can help us change our old and sinful habits?
Not only can He change us; He can change our world. The New Year, the New Millennium, is a time for hope. When Jesus visited Martha and Mary to console them over the death of their brother Lazarus, even though he had been in the tomb for four days, the sisters said to Jesus, "Even now, I know that God will give you whatever you ask him" (John 11:22). Even now. That should be our theme. That was Jeremiah's theme as he sat on the outskirts of the city of Jerusalem which, together with the Temple itself, had been devastated by the Babylonians, and the people taken into exile. He wrote the Book of Lamentations. Yet in the middle of that powerful outpouring of grief, he said, "But this I will call to mind as my reason to have hope: The favors of the Lord are not exhausted; His mercies are not spent. They are renewed each morning, so great is His faithfulness" (Lam. 3:21-23).
Yes, even now. Despite all the ills of the world at the dawn of the New Millennium, we are called to hope in the God who has not changed. Even now.