At the End of 2016: Something Truly New


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.

Referenced Verses:

  • 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

Suggestion:

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.

God bless!

Author: Neena

When not chasing after her two joyful little boys, Neena enjoys beekeeping, a good cup of coffee, and writing on her blog, “Words Like Honey” (www.wordslikehoney.com). Neena has spent much of the last decade traveling with her husband, Wade, a former professional baseball player. Throughout the 29 changes of address and the stresses of moving a young family, Neena learned to embrace the peace that only comes from the steady accompaniment of Christ in her heart. She hopes to lead women to a grace-filled life with Jesus through her stories of their baseball adventures and her Appalachian upbringing. Today, Neena and her family are ecstatic to settled back in their Old Kentucky Home.

3 Replies to “At the End of 2016: Something Truly New

  1. You know what I think I love most about my Christmas decorations? They aren’t out all year. I love pulling them out each year and remembering all the stories that go along with each trinket. My kids join in the revelry and reflection, but when they were younger it was different story.

    As I pulled out each Christmas box they would explore the contents as if it was already Christmas morning because their little minds could not recall the decor from the year before. It was so fun to see their face light up as they experienced the wonder of Christmas glitter all over again, as if they were seeing the item for the very first time.

    This is what I thought of as I read your post. God makes every moment an opportunity to experience His newness, to forget the former things, and embrace the new His son, Jesus provided for us. He is so good to us, isn’t He?

    I have a lot of things I would like to see myself walk in this year with God, but the resolution most forefront in my mind today is to protect our relationship. I feel the pull already to focus too much on distractions and placing higher value in the “doing” than the “being”.

    So even though I love sleep and I have been staying up late to work, I am still getting up early to spend time with Jesus and start the day off centered in Him. Day 4 and I am still grabbing a hold of the grace He is providing to follow through. Yay!

    Thanks for the reminder to press on, and thanks for the encouragement to remember the gift of new life God gave us.

    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 And thank you for your encouragement, as well!
      There are far too many distractions pulling us from God. I schedule dates with my husband when we start getting overly busy and haven’t spent quality time together–we should be equally and even more so cognizant of our relationship health status with our Creator…scheduling time and making it happen. Thanks for reading! God bless!

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