Reflections for Ringing in 2020
December 31, 2019 | Leslie Colaw
I love the feeling of a fresh start, a new beginning. This is why I love the New Year holiday. It feels like an opportunity to leave the old behind and embrace the new. I love the beginning of each month, I even love Mondays! The dawn of each morning reminds us daily of “the new” happening. I think it’s God’s gift to us that the ability to start fresh is built right into the calendar, nature’s liturgy that continually reminds us of the opportunity for the new. It’s like he’s inviting us to remember his promise, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
As we enter a New Year it’s time for making resolutions. I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly great at keeping mine. According to Forbes.com, apparently neither are most people:
“The statistics on how many people actually follow through and accomplish their New Year’s resolutions are rather grim. Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.”
Some of you may know people who are part of the 8% who accomplish their resolutions. You know, those people who don’t even really need to make New Year’s resolutions because they’re disciplined all of the time. If they make a goal, they stick to it. It’s quite admirable. (And sometimes annoying because I wish I was more like that!) But not all of us are this internally motivated.
Rather than becoming discouraged by my past or future failed resolutions, I’ve chosen to approach the New Year in a different way. For me it is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, not the lack of my own.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
The hope found in this verse is that we don’t have to wait a year for another fresh start. His steadfast love for us NEVER ceases!! His mercies are new EVERY morning! What a wonderful promise.
Years ago we started a New Year’s Day family tradition with a prayer jar, a gift from my wonderful mother-in-law. We write different things we want to see God do on little slips of paper, put them in the jar, and pray over it. Then the next year we pull it back out and see how God has answered. It’s been pretty amazing to see the ways God has answered prayers for our family over the years. We keep the ones that are answered separate from the ones that we are still believing for. They all go back in the jar as a way to remind us what God has done and what we are still waiting for him to do. The words on the front of the jar from Ephesians 3:20 remind us to dream big and to never give up praying, “I can do more than you can imagine. Love, God.”
Let the New Year be a reminder of the God whose mercies never cease, who desires to do more than we could ask or imagine, and who made the sun to rise each day as a way to remind us of the infinite opportunities to start fresh.
It could be simple things, like missing your quiet time for several mornings in a row and knowing this morning is the day to start again. Or perhaps you’ve started eating junk again after making a commitment to better health, or missed a few days or a whole week of making it to the gym. Today is a new day.
It might be big things, like that struggle or addiction you’ve prayed for deliverance for, and maybe you were really on track and then slipped up. Or maybe there’s a friend or family member who is far away from the Lord and you’ve been praying for them for years and it seems to make no difference and you want to give up. His steadfast love never ceases…great is his faithfulness.
Let this new year, this new decade serve as a reminder to you that God is always in the business of doing a new thing, and that work of his is never complete. The old has gone, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). The enthusiasm for our resolutions may wane, but his faithfulness and mercies never do.
Happy New Year!!