Every 12 months we begin a New Year. This year I definitely say, “Thank God!”
If you are like me, you probably pine for a better reality in the year ahead than these challenging past 12 months have afforded us. It has certainly been a memorable year. And I hope, and think, and pray, that 2021 - will be different (not the first few months but later on)! My imagination is going wild at all the things I think I will be able to do sometime during 2021 from going out eat, to taking trips or cruises even, to smiling in public (not hidden by a mask) to actually hugging another human at church. You know what, it is the right time to imagine such things because we find ourselves at the start of a brand new year! New Year’s marks a wonderfully, culturally significant, time to visualize things differently. An opportunity, if you will, to break out of old and tired routines. A place and time to start fresh. And for this reason, I think that each New Year restart is actually quite a gift for us – as individuals and as communities.
It is during the start of a New Year where we may take the opportunity to challenge ourselves with a New Year’s Resolution. And it is within this strong tradition of renewal and hope that I find, an inspiration to fathom one component of the depth and scope of God’s Grace. You see just as the “New Year” seems to give us the opportunity to “start again” so also does the Grace of God offer that to us continually. God gifts us a way out every time we find ourselves defeated by sins powerful grip. God’s Grace holds us through our own failings and offers us enumerable opportunities to start again because we have been forgiven and renewed, and again, and again. So I think New Year’s Resolutions, as we have come to embrace them, actually can communicate something about God if we pay attention. You see, sooner or later we all need a reset. We all need a do over. We all need to break out of whatever is holding us down. Enter... the New Year lesson. The New Year Resolution tradition is a non religious way to embrace those possibilities for ourselves and even for those around us. It sheds light on the practice God uses with us. God empowers and encourages us to break the chains of those things that hold us down. Jesus came so that we may have life that we may live it to the fullest (John 10:10).
This year for New Year’s let’s embrace both the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions and also embrace the higher reality that God is faithfully offering us that, do over we all need. For all of us, at some point, we come to a realization about some aspect in our life. That realization is this: “Oh, wow, that just didn’t go well.” The only difference, between us, is what that “that” is. So whatever that “that” is for you...please know – that all of us has a “that” in their lives. We all need a fresh start at times. Of course, God knows all of this. And this is where this time of year, New Years, can teach us something about God. I invite you to set your New Year’s Resolution, this year with God in mind. Let us take advantage now of the reset both New Years and God are offering us this day.
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