The Month With Two Faces
January, like some of the other months, was named after a Roman god; in this case, Janus, the god of two faces. This represents the fact that the first month of the year is looking back on the year just passed, while at the same time, looking ahead to the year just ahead. While we do not approve of Roman paganism, we nevertheless see the propriety of the name behind January. It is well, as the old year closes and the new year begins, to reflect retrospectively and prospectively - backward and forward.
One thing which we must ever realize is that it is not within our power to change what has transpired last year. Whatever our victories or defeats, we cannot live them again. As I once heard a lawyer exclaim, "You can't unring a bell." Once the bell has rung it cannot be "unrung." The past cannot be changed. A second reflection, is that, while we cannot bring back the past, we shall meet the deeds of our past in the day of Judgment. See 2 Corinthians.5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." The only way to avoid facing the guilt of our sins in the future, is to repent and find the forgiveness which is in the blood of Jesus. Looking back should make us realize the importance of correcting, to the best of our ability, whatever wrongs we have done. Certainly we should be determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past year.
Looking at the year behind us, let us ask these pertinent questions: Has my moral and spiritual life been all that God wants it to be? Have I keep all my "resolutions" of this time last year? Has my reading and study of the word been regular and consistent so as to have been profitable. Have I made the changes I learned from God's word that I needed to make? Has my prayer life been regular for my own needs and those of others. Has my membership with this congregation (my agreement to work together with other brethren) been an asset or a liability to the group, with respect to my attendance, giving and participation in the worship?
Looking to the future, we cannot know what this year will bring. But we can "contract" in advance to be the right kind of people, if the Lord permits us to live. If we truly understand the sufficiency of Christ and learn to depend more upon Him, keeping ourselves under His authority in all matters, the year 1996 will be a good one - better than the old.
January is the month with two faces: One looking back down the road already traveled; the other looking ahead into the sun with optimism, confidence, and anticipation of the good things awaiting all who love the Lord.