The older I get, the more I recognize that the Christmas season has a tricky way of sneaking up on me. That happened this year. Can you relate? Are your weeks and months flying by at an increasingly alarming rate?
And part of it is being caught up in it and not doing as I advised my youngest daughter to do just a few weeks ago: stop and pick some flowers.
Do You Need a Reboot?
So here we are between Christmas and a shiny, brand New Year. Finding a parking spot at the mall and all of the cyber deals are behind you, the wrapping paper has been tossed out, and the gadgets all have fresh batteries that will soon need to be replaced.
So what's next?
If you are anything like me, you don't look forward to the hype over soon to be abandoned resolutions and well meaning but often ineffective "New Year, new you" commitments.
But many of us, dare I suggest most of us, really do need a reboot.
Not that you should wait for January to roll around each year before you commit to making improvements to your routine, but let's exploit the beginning of a new year for all that it's worth.
Out With the Old...
You know the saying. And what a year we're leaving behind. It wasn't all bad, but the bad we did experience in 2017 sure makes starting a new year an encouraging prospect.
We had our share of political unrest, natural and man-made disasters, cultural and racial conflicts that haven't even left the NFL untouched. Let's not forget about the morality melt-down in the entertainment industry. And that's all just for starters.
There, now doesn't it feel good to say goodbye to 2017?
...In With the New
Let's face it. The world is far too big and far too broken a place for you or I or even a vast amount of us to really set things right.
But this is the beauty of it all. We have each been given a place in this big planet at a certain time in history and we can make the most of it. I'm going to say that we're pretty much obligated to do so, especially if we claim to follow the living God.
In hindsight, 2017 has been the year of frustration and endless waiting for me. And I have to admit, looking back across these last 12 months really brings home something my wife said to me months ago:
"Are you so busy looking to follow God away from where you're at that you've forgotten to serve Him right where He has you now?"
Doesn't it make sense that the world can be a better place when each one of us is occupying our own part of it in a way that brings the message of hope and life into our "here and now" space?
Yes, the whole world needs to hear about Jesus, but it must start in the time and place you and I have been given.
Recipe for the New Year
Great idea, right? But what are some practical ways you can get 2018 started on the right note? I'm glad you asked!
Start with these questions, and make it personal.
- l When I have the opportunity to be angry, judgmental, or critical of my spouse, children, or others close to me, will I embrace that, or will I find a more caring way to respond?
- l When my neighbor or co-worker gets on my nerves, will I respond in kind, or will I find a more humble, compassionate way?
- l When I read or hear about corruption in governments and unrest in communities, will I sit back and criticize, or will I pray for peace, mercy, and justice?
- l When some natural or man-made disaster strikes and lives are lost, will I shake my head in wonder, or will I become the hands and feet of Christ, working and giving to help others who are suffering?
It's not difficult to make our time and space better. But it does begin right where we are at.
Gene Whitehead ditched his first career in order to serve people and share hope. He earned his Bachelor of Biblical Studies from Bible University Canada, Nova Scotia, where he is now completing his Master of Ministry. He serves in full time, cross cultural ministries with his wife in Northern Europe and his passion is to help people embrace Christ, become more like Him, and to apply Scripture to daily life in practical ways. He calls that Simple Theology for a Messy Life. You can read about that and download his free eBook study guide, The Armor of God at genewhitehead.com.