The Christmas decorations are packed away and the Boy Scouts took the tree this morning, but there’s still bits of wrapping paper peaking out from under the couch. There are a few other reminders of the holiday out, but it mostly appears that Christmas is done. Over. Gone.
However, I don’t think that’s the final word. Christmas, the day, has passed. But the miracle of Christmas causes me to realize that what Christmas brings is really just the beginning.
Because Christ came, and nothing is the same. Everything changed on that silent night so long ago, why shouldn’t I be in search of change myself? Sometimes we go away from Christmas exactly the same as we approached it. I love the response of the wise men in the gospel of Matthew. They came and met Jesus and then went home a different way. They were changed. And as I stand here on the other side of Christmas I long to be changed too.
I think it’s fitting that New Year’s comes one week after Christmas. That we are given a week for reflection, a week that is typically quiet before we begin a new year. Could it be that we are meant to savor the miracle of Christmas? To allow it to change us? God gives us a new year, a changed heart, a fresh start.
As I think of 2012 I want to look at it with the realization that Jesus’s coming has changed me. And my response to that change is to change my habits and patterns. My resolutions then shouldn’t be about me, but about what God is doing in me. Through the lens of Christmas New Year’s resolutions become not aims for self-improvement but for God improvement.
My goals for the new year do include some standard ones. Things like more organizing, a few half marathons, less sugar and such. But my deeper goal is to live how Christ wants me to. To be grateful for a new year, with new opportunities and 366 new days to live my life God’s way. The blank slate ahead is exciting to me and has me thinking about what God wants to accomplish in me. My resolutions then are simple, live life God’s way. I realize that this takes a daily effort, it might not always easy then to live God’s way. But Jesus came for change, to turn things upside down in me and in you.
I long for my 2012 to reflect that. There are tons of great ideas out there for carrying out resolutions and making your life better, five minutes on Pinterest can tell you that. But I would say that not many of those really matter in the long run if I don’t approach New Year’s with a Jesus changed heart.
Being changed, every day then is the goal. Working closer towards Jesus, towards his fulfillment in my life.
Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took ahold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have taken ahold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 12-14, emphasis added)