Have you ever found yourself singing a familiar melody on December 31 a bit unsure of of what “Auld Lang Syne” is or who exactly we’re supposed to pass a cup of kindness to? While song lyrics may be lost in translation for many, most people find themselves doing exactly what the song implies. For however brief a moment, we press pause on our life to take an introspective glance at days gone by. We remember. We reflect. We don’t just stop there, however. We promise. We resolve. We try. We even try harder. Yet more often than not, we find ourselves defeated before winter has even given way to spring. The cynics among us will say, “Why bother?” The broken places of our hearts and lives might even call out accusations and condemnation. ”You’re back here again?” ”You’re still struggling with that?” As a result, we’re often tempted to despair and give up or fix the problem by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps and turning to our old friend, “self-discipline.”
When I think about reflection and resolutions in my own life, I think of a double edged sword. One with the potential to do both harm and good to my soul depending on who I look to for the source of lasting change. Jesus reminds us in John 15 that He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing. The message of the Gospel has everything to do with transformation and nothing to do with bootstraps. The message of the Gospel isn’t about being a better person but about a dead person being raised to life.
During the month of January, we plan to post a series called “Auld Lang Syne.” We’ll share some of our own reflections from days gone by, how the Gospel is shaping resolutions we’ve made, as well as sharing a few things the Lord is teaching us this winter.
For now, here are a few New Years posts I’ve enjoyed from others in the past.
Happy New Year!
12 Important Questions Every Christian Should Ask Themselves Each Year
Dave Cover shared a blog post with Don Whitney’s original twelve questions a few years ago. I’ve found them helpful each year since.
The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards
If you’re like me, your gut reaction might be to scan this lengthy list, throw your hands up, and shout, “Yeah, right.” Instead, perhaps we should take a moment to think about how this opening line might speak to any resolutions we make.
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.
Back to Square One?
Colleen Kelley, a staff member of Veritas (The Crossing’s college ministry) and one of my favorite people, shares thoughts on letting our resolutions and reflections come under God’s grace.
What is a Habit?
Ann Voskamp responds to this question by saying, “A habit is what we wear. A habit is the way we wear our days.” She goes on to provide a free printable daily planner for moms who desire to be intentional with their families.
Sitting in the New Year
Last year, CJ Maheny’s wife and daughters posted a series called, “Sitting in the New Year” on their blog Girl Talk. The series walked through the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 and provided practical tips for being intentional to spend time sitting at Jesus’ feet.