New year opportunity for fresh start

"This is the day which the LORD hath made…" Psalm 118:24

What difference does a number on a piece of paper known as a calendar make in our lives? What about the year? Is Jan. 1 that much different than Dec. 31? Does all of this make a difference to average people like you and me? You better believe it does as today we take a look at some of those average people.

The Rose Parade served as my inspiration for this week's column. I learned a great deal by watching a special that told how this year's parade came to be. Starting with the Grand Marshal, J.R. Martinez, it is amazing to see how a tragedy was turned into something extraordinary. This young man, serving in Iraq survived an explosion and was burned over 40 percent of his body. Instead of giving in to his injuries, he fought back and is now using what happened to him to inspire others to not give up.

One of the floats honored the "King of the Cowboys," Roy Rogers, who was born 100 years ago. No stranger to tragedy, Roy's first wife and three children died and yet Roy never gave up. His faith sustained him and he used his star status to promote family values and share the good news of Jesus Christ. His son, Dusty stated he was genuine and was the same on screen and at home. While there may be some young people who don't know who Roy Rogers was; his lifestyle is timeless.

Of course the parade featured others who went unnoticed. One of them was a trumpet player in the Los Angeles area band. This young man plays the trumpet because it is the only instrument he can hold because he has cerebral palsy. This young man marched in the parade before and even though he finished in great pain, he was ready to do it all over again.

Finally, there are the thousands of volunteers who spent countless hours adding all of the flowers, seeds, grasses, and other natural materials to make the floats beautiful art objects. Without their contributions, there would be no floats.

So, back to the original question of what difference does a date make on a calendar? Well, that depends on you. What will you do with the day the Lord has given? No matter how small or large your influence is, each of us is like one of those floats. Whether you are a seed or an exotic rose, each of us are desperately needed to complete the float.

What if you started something last year and didn't finish it? Now is the time to put aside those things that stopped you and continue on. In 2 Corinthians 8: 10 (NLT), Paul said, "Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago."

It is a new year, a new start and time to put aside what got in your way and start all over again. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do with it?

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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