On December 31 social media was flooded with hopeful posts. 2014 was a tough year for many, and more than a few were ready to move forward into 2015 with optimism. But December 31 is essentially no different than any other day. The sun rose and the sun set. The only thing that makes the threshold between December 31 and January 1 different is how we think about.
New Year’s is a finish and starting line all at once. It’s a time to reflect on life, release disappointments and embrace aspirations. The problem with the New Year is that it only comes…wait for it…once a year! I know that’s sort of obvious, but think about all the pressure we place on that one threshold. We make lots of resolutions, few of which survive into February.
But what if we chose to see every evening as an opportunity to reflect on life and release disappointments? And what if we chose to see every morning as an opportunity to embrace new aspirations?
Lamentations 3:22-23 says,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Did you catch that? Every morning!
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ proclaims that in every moment of every day God’s renewing grace is at work. We are not defined by the failures of our past. God empowers us to release them. God isn’t keeping score so we don’t need to either. And in Jesus Christ was trust that God is at work making us new each and every day.
So, rather than banking on annual resolutions let me encourage you to commit to a brief, daily practice of reflection and prayer.
At the beginning of each day ask yourself:
- What difference is God calling me to make today?
- What small step of growth is God empowering me to take today?
- For what do I need God’s grace and power today?
At the end of each day ask yourself:
- What did I learn today?
- What do I need to let go of today?
- What can I give thanks for today?
It’s a new year, but every day is a new day filled with the presence of the One whose grace renews us daily.
Jeff Marian is Lead Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN