HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! What a joy it is to celebrate the first day of 2017 with you all in worship. What better way to begin a brand new year by gathering with our church family? Yes, New Year’s Day is a time to reflect on all that has happened in the year gone by, and an opportunity to look forward to the coming year with renewed hope and a clean slate.
It is a time that is hopeful enough for many of us to resolve to change things in our lives that we’ve been wanting to change for the past year, to make New Year’s resolutions. If we’re honest, for many people, New Year’s resolutions are not things to be taken particularly seriously. How many newly-purchased gym memberships go unused come mid-February? What percentage of folks actually successfully make it through the throes of caffeine withdrawal and kick the coffee habit? How many diet plans fall by the wayside? It seems to me that we make all kinds of promises to ourselves at this time of year with great intentions; we wish to become better people. And so I wonder, why do so many of these resolutions fall by the wayside? Is it a lack of will power? A lack of desire? Are we resolving to do the wrong things? Or are our resolutions just one more item on an ever-expanding to-do list? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s simply that we push off all of the things that we’ve been dreading getting started on until the new year, hoping that somehow the fresh start that the new year lends will motivate us.
Whatever reasons we have for our new year’s resolutions falling apart, it is important for all of us to think about how we will spend the year to come. How will you use the most precious of God’s gift—life and time?
As we think about this, it is entirely possible for all of us to create long lists of things to accomplish and commit ourselves to in 2017. But I think that if we can all commit to two simple rules for the year, we’ll be doing splendidly. They’re quite simple: Love God with all that you are and all that you have, and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. These are the most important things we can do in the year to come, so let’s keep them in the forefront of our minds this year!