In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.Genesis 1:1-2 ESV
In the beginning the earth held just a promise of what was to come, like the deepest dark before the sunrise of a new day, or the final sleep before the first month of a new year. None of the beauty of creation was visible as God spoke the universe into existence on that very first day ever. Yet there was God, hovering literally and figuratively over the beginnings. He had a plan. For celestial wonders, vibrant plants, a diversity of creatures, and then the pinnacle of his creation. His final handiwork he could craft in his image. Man would have many physical similarities to the animals God created, but in people he put an imprint of himself.
So God created man in his own image,Genesis 1:27 ESV
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.Genesus 2:7 ESV
God fashioned man according to his own image. With his own breath, God breathed life into that first man. This final creation could think, reason, communicate, and create on a level far beyond the rest of the material world. Everything else in existence God had made with simple words, but he took more time in the creation of one man than he had in conjuring the whole cosmos.The universe is a true marvel, but the creation of mankind holds greater complexity than everything else because of our immaterial substance, the breath of God, the God-imprint that we still bear.
Unfortunately, sin marred this beautiful creation. Sin has brought pain, disease, separation, and death. God’s marvelous intent for creation was relatively short-lived, as he knew it would be. In his divine plan, he even included his response to man’s sin and rebellion. He would provide a way of redemption. His promise of a Messiah he tucked into the story even here at the beginning of time. Animal skins, bruising of Satan. Judgement, but not without hope.
Thousands of years later, Mary and Zechariah would erupt with praise at the long awaited fulfillment of the Messiah’s coming.
And his mercy is for those who fear himLuke 1:50 ESV
from generation to generation.
because of the tender mercy of our God,Luke 1:78,79 ESV
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
God’s plan of redemption reawakened worship in a profound way. The beginning of the life of Christ was another creation, as is evident in the beginning of each gospel, especially John 1 that is patterned after Genesis 1. A new beginning. A moving out of darkness once again.
I envision God rewriting the first verses of Genesis each new year, on a smaller scale. “In the beginning of the year, God created January. January was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of each day. And the Spirit of God was hovering over all that was to come.” Obviously, that’s not what the verse says, but I feel a similar sense of anticipation for all of creation that is to come in Genesis 1 as I do in this beginning of a new year. I imagine that God hovered at that moment before creation with both joy and sorrow at what would follow. Despite the looming evil, God created and also planned for the needed redemption.
As I head into this new year, I carry that story in my heart. God’s hovering spirit over the year ahead as he continues to guide and orchestrate, and shower grace and mercy. The knowledge that sin will bring flaws to my beautiful hopes and dreams for the year ahead. The confidence that God redeems when I fail or when others disrupt. With a trusting heart, I will follow God’s example and begin crafting the year ahead with goals and plans and structure, resting in his continued hand over it all despite my humanness.
Creator God, I surrender this year ahead to your plan. Guide my thoughts, decisions, and actions to begin well, to continue when my energy wanes and I face disillusionment, and to finish strong. May this year be a beautiful testimony to your grace and mercy, giving light to those who sit in darkness around me as you guide our feet in the way of peace. In Jesus name, amen.