Did you know that New Year’s Day is the one holiday that is almost universal? It is the world’s most observed holiday.
I trust you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions one of which is to be in worship each week. I won’t ask you if you’ve resolved to lose the weight you gained between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or if you’re planning on joining a health club, or if you’re going to run five miles a day.
The late Erma Bombeck made some memorable resolutions over the years:
1. I will go to no doctor whose office plants have died.
2. I’m going to follow my husband’s suggestion to put a little excitement into my life by living within our budget.
3. I’m going to apply for a hardship scholarship to Weight Watchers.
4. I will never loan my car to anyone I have given birth to.
I have some words of comfort for those of us who try to make changes in our lives and are making New Year’s Resolutions: “Don’t worry about keeping those 2018 News Year’s resolutions, you only have to deal with them until February and then you can give them up for Lent.”
It’s good to make changes in our lives and resolutions, for the most part. As we are often reminded by our critics, our spouses or our children, none of us is perfect. In fact, some of us might have some deep regrets about the way we’ve lived our lives.
The beginning of the Gospel of John puts the emphasis not on our past, but on our future. Not on our regrets, but on our possibilities. Here are a few selected verses from this passage:
"In the begging was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made... He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."
What a positive theme for this New Year! The beginning of John is focused not on what we have been, or even what we are now. Rather it focuses on what we can yet be: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God . . .”
Isn’t what you really want as you begin this New Year to know deep in your heart that you can be more than you are today that you have a right to become a child of God? Isn’t that what you really want to know that you can live the next 365 days confidently aware that your life matters to know that God is with you and that you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you? “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
All of us have unrealized potential. That’s the first thing these words say to me. We are children of God. When each of us came into this world, we brought with us an amazing amount of potential.
I hope you begin this New Year also with the realization that you are an heir to the throne, not because of anything you have done, but because of what Christ has done in your behalf. You have enormous potential physically and mentally. You have even greater potential spiritually. You have the right to become a child of God, and, indeed, by your baptism, you are a child of God. That’s something powerful to live up to. The right to live like Christ, the right to have God as our Father.
Go into this New Year aware of who you are, and to Whom you belong.
Happy New Year!