It’s that day when you reflect on your life, think about all the things you want to do differently and compose a list of New Year’s Resolutions. Interestingly, they’re almost always the same. You’re going to stop doing those things that are no good for you and start doing those things that will make you a better person. But then it happens – just like it happens every year. You begin breaking your resolutions one-by-one and end up feeling worse about yourself. That’s why you need to do your New Year’s resolutions in a new way this year. Go ahead and make those resolutions that will lead to positive outcomes. But then commit – don’t just resolve – to opening every nook and cranny of your life to God so you experience just how passionately God is in love with you. Then stick with it. Because you’ll discover you’ve gotten to the heart of what matters most of all.
As you look back at the past year, you probably smile as you remember special moments, grace-filled surprises and things you never imagined could happen. But all too often you don’t linger there because you inevitably seem to drift back to those things you wish you hadn’t done, had done differently or could fix. That’s the thing about mistakes, regrets and bad choices. They haunt you over and over, sometimes for a lifetime. But God is ready for every one of them to be done, over and finished because God is not a God of what’s happened as much as God is a God of the yet-to-be. God is ready for you to ask God’s forgiveness, experience God’s healing, make amends where that will be helpful, learn all you can and get ready to begin a new chapter in life! Hopefully you’re ready, too.
God has created a universe so vast you can’t begin to imagine it – yet God loves you as if you’re the only person in it. God’s heart hurts when you turn away, harm others and fail to be the person God’s created you to be – yet God loves you unceasingly and eternally. God is all-powerful – yet God cares for your needs day-in and day-out. So how in the world do you make sense of this kind of God? You don’t because you can’t. But that’s okay. Really! Because it doesn’t matter nearly as much whether you fully understand God as it does whether you open yourself to God, invite God to dwell in you and let the ‘Unknown Known’ go to work in your life. The reason is simple. God didn’t create you to know about God. God created you to live in God.
Christmas memories tend to fade as you put away Christmas and try your best to get back to normal life. But the Christmas reality of God choosing to enter into human life as an infant to share everything you need to know about God doesn’t. Indeed, it can’t. That’s because what God has done is so amazing it can never be limited to a holiday that comes and goes once a year. It is reality all the time. And you can experience it entering into every crack and crevice of your life and changing how you see yourself, others and life itself. But it doesn’t just magically happen. You have to choose to make the Christmas reality your reality. So do it. Choose the God who has chosen you in the most unlikely way. Choose when it’s easy. Choose when it’s hard. And most importantly, choose starting right now.
Lord, it’s that time of the year when we find ourselves looking both backward and forward at the same time.
We are reflecting on what’s happened this past year – the good, the bad, the grace-filled moments and the pain. And we keep coming back to the fact that You were always there – loving, prodding, healing, shaping and helping us grow in Your grace.
We also are anticipating what the coming year will hold – new hopes, God-sized dreams, difficult challenges and all kinds of possibilities. And we are praying that You will continue to be there every moment – loving, prodding, healing, shaping and helping us grow.
As we look both back and ahead, we realize just how much we want a deeper relationship with You than we’ve ever had before. We want to know Your love – more. Be filled with Your love – more. And have Your love shape how we live – more. Not just in ‘religious’ moments, but in every moment.
We know, Lord, we are a work in progress. So be patient. Keep Your grace coming. And know this. We are ready to go all in. Amen.