New Year’s Day is a pretty arbitrary date for celebrations; so arbitrary that Samoa decided to bring it forward by 24 hours. But it has huge symbolic meaning. “Out with the old and in with the new” is the motto for a great amount of activity including planning, goal setting, resolution making, much of which is equally symbolic of course and does not amount to much more than words on a page.
For Christians, Christmas is a more obvious time for new beginnings. The birth of the Christ child marked a new beginning for the human race and for our relationship with God and with his creation. On the other hand, Easter and the resurrection of Jesus marks the end of what Christmas began, the earthly ministry of Jesus. It marks the beginning of new possibilities through forgiveness and reconciliation with God and with one another, while Pentecost marks the birth of the church through the coming of the Spirit.
Each of these is a good opportunity for Christians to take stock, plan, and set goals. How much more meaningful for our plans to be linked with God’s activity and to be formulated through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, rather than via a man-made calendar?
Perhaps we’re a bit nervous of God being too closely involved in our plans and resolutions. New Year resolutions are traditionally loose affairs: I’ll do my best but don’t anyone hold me to them. Resurrection resolutions or Pentecostal planning have a more serious ring to them. “I did my best” just won’t do anymore.
Whatever our preference we need an opportunity (and not just once a year for that matter) to take stock of where we have come from and where we are likely to end up if we continue as we are. Is there somewhere else or something else we would like to aim towards? If we are content to allow our future and our place in the world to be determined by others or by outside forces, there is of course no need for such introspection. But don’t tell anyone because such lethargy in a world obsessed with Success, with Becoming, and with finding one’s Purpose is rather scandalous (perhaps more of that in another blog). For now, the New Year is a good opportunity to ask questions about one’s journey through life and its spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects. It invites us to lift our eyes and see a little further than the next footstep; to ask for God’s mercy and to receive his guidance for the journey that lies ahead.
God bless you whatever your journey holds.
Thank you too for sharing my journey this past year, especially those of you who have signed up to receive my ramblings each time I post. It’s such a privilege to have you here and I am grateful for your presence; you inspire me to keep writing, and to write meaningfully. If you care to visit, do please leave a comment to give me an idea of what works for you and what doesn’t.
- New Year Flood (wonderingpreacher.wordpress.com)