The start of every New Year offers the opportunity to choose. We can choose to lean forward in the excitement of the unknown ahead, or choose to hold back, resisting letting go of what is familiar and comfortable.

With this year already starting with a rare winter storm, complete with snow and more than a little ice, one has to wonder what might lie ahead in the days, weeks and months that will soon race by.

While it might seem that there is an abundance of time ahead, in reality, we also know that none of us, not one, is promised even tomorrow. So the challenge of starting a new entire year is to live each day as it comes, grateful for its arrival and willing to savor all of its uniqueness.

For those of us who view all of life through the lens of faith, we readily acknowledge that every day is a gift given to us by God. So whether the day is overflowing with activities and interactions, experiences and adventures, or if it is a quiet, peaceful, solitary experience, it still is a gift.

When viewed as a gift, each day becomes something to be opened and treasured, enjoyed, experienced and appreciated to the fullest of our ability.

Filled with trust in a God who is ever at work for good in the world and in us, who delights in surprising and filling us with awe and wonder, we can look forward, not in fear of what might lie ahead, but in eager anticipation of the blessings that await us.

It’s not that every day will be perfect or pleasant, or even easy. But faith in God means that even in those days, God will still be with us, close by, to guide and support us, and to love us.

But we will still have to choose. It will be our choice. We can ignore the signs of God’s work around and in us, and the blessings that come each and every day. Or we can choose to be intentional in expressing great gratitude for everything that each day holds.

And with that, whether 2018 holds a full 365 days or just one more, it does not matter. In any case, we can and will say “thanks” to God for all that has been, and say “yes” to all that lies ahead.

May it hold true for us all in 2018.

Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.