MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 29th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on getting wise and gaining perspective.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” That was my introduction to motivational posters, years ago. It was a revelation: Hey! However I’ve slipped up in the past, there’s always a tomorrow. Gotta learn how to fall before you learn to fly, right? You never fail until you stop trying! Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.And sometimes you just fritter away another day binge-watching and overeating.
But there’s always tomorrow until, as Professor Harold Hill says in The Music Man: “Pile up enough tomorrows, and all you have are a bunch of empty yesterdays.” Pile up enough motivational posters, and you can start a pretty good bonfire.
But how’s this for motivation: “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he may be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18). He is the beginning tumbles out in a stream of superlatives describing Christ. It goes by so quickly you almost miss it. But wait—go back and consider what those words really say: He is the beginning. Every pronoun has an antecedent. This one has several: image, firstborn, head (of the body), fullness, preeminence, beloved Son. He occupies the shining center of “all things.” Rather than negation, he radiates affirmation, all Creation circling around and rejoicing in him.
He is the beginning. Present tense. The gate of time stands open, and he occupies the threshold as humanity pours through. He is the door, but also the deed; the object of all those by, through and in prepositions. At the same time, he’s the active agent. He does it. He is it, yesterday and forever, and always today.
He is the beginning. I used to love beginnings. At the school year, I’d sharpen pencils and plan my schedule. On New Year’s Day, I’d savor that last piece of Christmas fudge before starting the diet-and-exercise program. In the hospital with a new baby, I’d make promises no one can keep. You know what happens, though: the pencils get stubby, resolutions don’t hold up, and babies grow into themselves, striding off in unforeseen directions. I still like beginnings, but by now I’m wise to them. They can be slippery, for as long as I know there’s another one coming, flubbing this one is not the end of the world. Until the last New Year’s Day finally arrives and, whether I know it or not, it’s the end of the world for me.
But not for Him. By entering the world, He became our beginning. He’s good for His promises and knows where He’s going—in fact, He’s already there, interceding for us. Beginning with us, day after day. This year, I predict we’ll hear bad news and good news, puzzling news and smack-ourselves-on-the-forehead news. From Heaven’s perspective, however, 2020 is already old news. The real news is perpetually good, provided we know the Omega from the Alpha.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.