As a child I remember waking up on New Year’s Day and walking around the house, looking for something new. I asked my parents to show me something that was new and they would simply point to the calendar. I was not convinced until I found a penny or nickel that had the new year printed on it. Naturally that would take several weeks or months.
Perhaps that is why I have never been good at New Year’s resolutions. Part of my reason is that our New Year’s celebration comes at such an odd time, in the middle of winter. I would rather start a new resolution in the spring, when everything is budding and alive. My physical exercise always seems to pick up a notch when I can run in just shorts and a fleece top: no mittens, hat, tights, or jacket. And my devotional life seems to shift by the seasons as well. In the spring and summer, I want to be more active, serving God in tangible, concrete ways. In the late fall and winter, I become more introspective, contemplative, spending time in study and prayer By New Year’s Day, Minnesota has already been locked into winter for more than a month.
Plus church life rarely revolves around January 1st (with the exception of budgets). The school year of September to June has a much bigger impact on the weekly rhythms of life in a congregation. Christmas and New Year’s are a wonderful break, but immediately following New Year’s, it is back to the school year flow. Furthermore, the church year of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Lent have grown into a significant part of my walk with Jesus. The people of God have always focused on the birth of Jesus, not the start of a new calendar.
So what do I do with New Years? Treat it with the respect and joy that every day deserves. The psalmist declares: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” May each day of 2011 be filled with the joy of the Lord.
How does the New Year change your life?