January 1?

I’ve never been a celebrator of New Year’s Eve; I like going to bed before 11pm. When our kids were at home we would gather with my husband’s family for a meal, games, and then stay up to watch the ball drop. Some of us remember New Year Eve 1999, when the new year was named Y2K. The predictions were for a technological apocalypse because the digital clocks only recognized the last two digits of a year so would not be able to tell the difference between 2000 and 1900. Bob’s family gathered together with bottled water and flashlights, and the children were sorely disappointed when the ball dropped, the clocks ticked past 11:59pm and….nothing happened.

Calendars and clocks are human inventions, which is part of the reason why (along with the preference for sleep) I do not care much about New Year’s Eve:

“ACCORDING TO archaeological evidence, the Babylonians and Egyptians began to measure time at least 5,000 years ago, introducing calendars to organize and coordinate communal activities and public events, to schedule the shipment of goods and, in particular, to regulate cycles of planting and harvesting. They based their calendars on three natural cycles: the solar day, marked by the successive periods of light and darkness as the earth rotates on its axis; the lunar month, following the phases of the moon as it orbits the earth; and the solar year, defined by the changing seasons that accompany our planet’s revolution around the sun.” Scientific America

I rise from my slumber on January 1st the same way I did on December 31st. The day stretches before me with the same opportunities as previous days. Making resolutions just does not interest me. I am not bashing that practice at all; if those things give you energy and enthusiasm, go for it! It just isn’t my thing.

Sorry for being so cynical. Why, I think to myself, should I wait for a particular day on a calendar to work at becoming a better/more focused/changed person? Today is just as good as any day. When the sun rises each morning and sets each night (or, for those who work or are awake during the night, whatever part of the day you are awake and alert), we each have a full span of opportunity and choices ahead of us. I want to focus on this day.

And while I surely do want to make healthy choices and strengthen relationships and stay on budget and be more generous and, and, and…my main daily priority is to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Every day I commit to grow closer to Him, commit to pay attention to His Presence all around me, commit to listen to Him and respond to what He says, commit to love and serve Him, commit to love those around me and to respond to any unexpected events of a day with the grace of God.

The oft quoted portion of the verse from Joshua 24:15 is best read in its entire context in which Joshua delivered a message from God to the Israelites. God recounted all the ways he worked in their lives to deliver, rescue, and lead them to the promised land. And then gave them a choice: “Fear the Lord and serve him with integrity and faithfulness…or choose your own god to serve.” And Joshua added, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That really is the umbrella promise, or resolution if you’d rather, for each day of my life. I can choose to serve the gods of today (name anything that dominates your body, mind or soul), or I can choose to place my trust in the Lord God Almighty. And the remarkable truth is that he will give us the strength to accomplish that commitment! We just need to ask for his strength, his forgiveness, his grace and his Spirit who promises, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

So, IF I’m still awake at 11:59 pm this Saturday night to watch the ball drop, I will thank God for his presence, power and love, and will ask for more so that I can go to sleep trusting that whatever the new day will bring, I will be ready to follow Jesus.

I’m praying for you,

Pastor Deb