I enjoy a good, (caffeine-fueled) New Year’s celebration and all the clocks, cabbages, and kisses. Oh, and I love resolutions; though, only last year did I ever begin to keep one. I think it’s the freshness–the beginning–of which I’m so fond. It’s the official clean slate of adulthood. I’ve already dusted away the holiday dazzle, and gotten giddy over a blank planner. I know there is so much promise to 1/1.
I thought it was hilarious (and slightly embarrassing) that my parents put the family Christmas tree in a playpen when my brother and I were tots. Either trees of this generation have grown, or our babies now are expected to play in significantly smaller safe-zones. My tree’s only defense this year was to be guarded by a pitiful assortment of furniture that left me wishing for a cumbersome pen. Whenever defenses were low, the child who refuses to walk was scaling the plastic pine poly-athlete style. Needless to say, we were tree-free by December 26.
I always hate to put away Christmas decorations. I feel like I’ve merrily welcomed tidings of good cheer into every nook of our home, and for social norm and practicality’s sake, I have banished those vibes to a box in the attic for a year.
Now, I’m not about to argue that one should leave a tree lit year round or give you a sermon on how we should continue in the Spirit of Christmas past the holidays. Both of those are a given. [Side note: I’m from a place where I totally don’t judge those that embrace the time-saving strategy of leaving decorative lights up year-round.]
Twinkly lights or not, this is about the New Year.
I have–we have–365 days ahead of us completely untainted by our past and ready for a plan. Is that motivating to start a habit, hobby, or health regime? That’s awesome if it is! However, I wish to think of the symbolism of New Year’s and our lives as followers of Christ.
When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We embarked upon the life of a believer… a new beginning… freely forgiven of our sins and given a plan (i.e. Jesus) on how to deal with our baggage (Ephesians 4:32). In 1 Peter, we are compared to babies–dead to our old selves, and born anew in Christ—that are to “drink deep” God’s pure kindness so that we may grow up mature and whole in God (2:2-3). In this crazy/wonderful life, we are going to start with a slow crawl. Undeniably, we will stumble and even fall face down, but we get up and strive on because with each falter in our faith, we have the opportunity to grow deeper in it as we learn to walk with Christ.
Sometimes I struggle with wanting to do the right thing, but doubting my intentions. I want my reasons to be pure and good, but I question selfish ambitions. One of my most consistent prayers helps me attempt to conquer myself and align my heart with Jesus’. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10…emphasis mine.).
January 1 marks the beginning of a new year. Christ is not constrained by a calendar or our failings. Thank God for that. May we celebrate the New Year knowing that God is with us, and that Jesus makes all things new. Here’s to growing mature in God’s kindness and to new beginnings—in all of our hearts—all of the time.
- Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
- Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:2 NASB
- Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 HCSB
- Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV
My resolution last year was to read the Bible cover-to-cover in one year. I did it! If you would like to participate in that rewarding experience in 2017, then I suggest you check out available plans. I subscribe to Dr. Charles Stanley’s emails (In Touch Ministries). At the bottom of a brief daily devotion, there is a link to the Bible-in-One-Year reading.
My resolution this year is to become better at prayer. Join me? Leave a comment about any resolutions you may have, or how I can add you to my prayer list.