It’s a new year! The tradition is to make a New Year’s Resolution--to do something new, something that is good for you (lose weight, eat less, exercise more, reach a goal, serve others, pray daily). Some resolutions are successful and some are not.
The prophet Isaiah offers some sage advice in how to honor New Year’s Resolutions:
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a
new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the
wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19).
The first part is: Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. This is harder than it seems. How much energy do we spend on the former things? Some like to remember the “good old days;” with nostalgia we long to turn back time to when everything was alright. We tend to remember things as better than they actually were. Others like to remember the past in a negative light. We replay the tapes with regret--wishing we had not said what we said or done what we did. As we remember, we allow ourselves to feel anger about how we were treated and our hurts that still hurt. Whether with romance or regret, we often find ourselves looking back.
In order to honor our Resolutions this New Year, we have to begin with step one: Do not remember the former things, or the things of old. Isaiah calls the people then and now: Let it go! Learn lessons it has to teach us, yes, but let go of the hold the past has on you. Let God make a new way.
The second part of this wisdom in how to honor New Year’s Resolutions is believing in God’s promise: I am about to do a new thing. In Christmas, with the birth of Jesus, God did something brand new. In a world of darkness, Jesus brought light. In a world of despair, Jesus brought hope. In a world of conflict, Jesus brought peace. In a world of sin, Jesus brought salvation and new life. Into our world, God sent love, enough to go around to all.
Christmas is not over on December 25. The Christmas season continues--all through the New Year. As Isaiah promised: In places of wilderness in our world, God will make a way. In places of desert in our lives, God will provide rivers of living water. With the birth of Christ, God makes a promise--to be with us always. And God intends to keep this Resolution this New Year. How about you?
In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge from the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens:
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
How do we honor Christmas and try to keep it all year? First, by making a New Year’s Resolution not to remember the things of old that keep us prisoner to the past. Jesus forgives us; we need to forgive ourselves. And second, by opening our eyes and minds and expecting God to do new things. For truly, nothing is impossible with God.
New Year Blessings,