From heightened expectations to regrets about past failures, the turn of the year offers plenty of unique difficulties. So for those of us who remain not-very-skilled at New Year’s resolutions (and other time-sensitive things), here’s a *timely* devotion from An Easy Stroll Through a Short Gospel: Meditations on Mark, by Larry Parsley. Take heart, and happy new year!

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (1:14–15)

A preaching professor of mine once offered a maddening bit of counsel. “Your first sentence has to grab them, or else they will be lost for the rest of the sermon.” I cringe to think of how many first sentences I’ve wasted with “open your Bibles to” or “our passage for today” or some other purely functional but hardly arresting opening gambit.

Jesus must have been some preacher, because he opens with these brief words: “The time has come.” Putting aside for the moment the fact that in other contexts these words could be anything but inviting (say, when spoken by a surgeon or judge or especially an executioner), in this context, these words defeat all the other “time” sentences we have lived with all our lives.

In many areas of our lives, we may think, “The time has passed.” Once, there was a window of time in our lives where possibilities were laid out before us like steaming dishes at an all-you-can-eat buffet. No longer, we tell ourselves. This is the siren of regret who daily sings her mournful song over us. Another siren, cynicism, nightly serenades us as well. She sings, “The time will never come.” In other words, that Great Pumpkin you spent so much of your childhood pining for is a myth.

But Jesus says, “The time has come.” A new kingdom is passing so close by you can feel its brush at your elbow and breeze on the back of your neck. The kingdom belongs to Jesus, is Jesus, and now is ours. “The time has come…” at last.

Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming what feels like the lost days of our lives.