I was riding down Route 2 in Preston when I saw it. The sign read, “60 acres for sale.” I quickly looked to my right and I saw trees for as far as my eyes could see. Lots of trees. A veritable forest. There was nothing there. No buildings. No roads. Nothing to spark your imagination. It was just a wooded lot.

As I continued to drive, I came upon the vast expanse of Foxwoods. It arose out of the forest and stood tall like the California Redwoods. As I drove out over the overpass I could see the tail lights of the cars as they ascended into the parking garages. The place was alive and filled with people looking for miracles to happen.

Now I am not a gambler. I don’t believe in it. Places like this bring more heartache than anything else. Yet, I remember when that piece of land was just as plain and simple as the parcel that I saw minutes before. The only difference between the two is that someone had a vision for the piece of land that now houses two of the largest casinos in the world.

Vision is what separates what is and what could be. I love this time of year. It’s a time of reflection but it also gives us the opportunity to look at the landscape ahead us and to dream dreams about the future. It allows us to put the past behind us so we can start over and forge ahead to try new things.

The new year gives us permission to leave behind the things that have weighed us down. It gives us permission to start over and do it right and do it better this time around. People who know me will tell you that every January I go back to Weight Watchers to mold and shape the new me. Every January I pick up my Bible and begin my daily devotionals again. Every January I reach out to old friends and renew some important acquaintances.

The good news is that the ability to begin again doesn’t depend on the calendar. God sees the potential in us. He wants us to claim it today. Like that wooded piece of property, God sees what we can become. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God has a bright and prosperous plan for our future. All we have to do is walk with God so that the future can spring to life.

If you have been feeling stuck and need a boost to get you going again, I want to invite you to drop in to a local church or synagogue in your neighborhood. Are you being careful about exposure to the coronavirus? Bring up their service online and worship with them in that way.

You see God is there, ready and waiting to get started on that future. Don’t just dream about the future. Start making it happen today. Go hand in hand with God into the new year and claim the blessing that He has set aside for you.

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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