It is hard to believe but it is almost January 1st again. As New Year’s approaches, the culture tends to take time for both looking back and looking ahead.
In terms of looking back: lists get published about the top news stories of the year, the top sport’s moments of the year, the top songs and books of the year, etc. Also, with respect to looking back—lists gets published with famous people who died over the last year. Additionally, groups like Oxford & Merriam-Webster decide upon a word for the year. This year, Oxford chose ‘Rizz’ which is a viral term, which is short for charisma, as ‘someone’s ability to attract another person through style, charm, or attractiveness.’ (I have to say, I must be getting old because I haven’t heard this word used at all and was a new one to me.) Merriam-Webster chose for their word of the year as ‘authentic.’ They chose this word because of all the discussions about what is authentic or not because of the rising use of AI (Artificial Intelligence).
I encourage you to take some time in the next couple of weeks to think about what word you might chose to reflect your year. Think about accomplishments you or your family did over the year. What were the significant events that occurred in the last year?
In addition to looking back, with the New Year approaching people begin to look forward. What will the new year bring? Sometimes people begin to speculate about what will be the events/headlines for the upcoming year. People guess about what TV show, movie or music will be the biggest hit in the new year. Sometimes we look forward with excitement about the new year—excited about what our sports team can accomplish with new players or coaches. Will the new football coach at IU be able to turn it around? Will this be the year that Purdue wins the basketball tournament?
Other times, we may enter the year with less excitement. Some may be dreading the upcoming election. What will the new year bring in regard to the war/conflict with Israel and Palestine?
I encourage you to take some time in the next couple of weeks to think about what you would like to accomplish in the new year. Is it: a new job, finish a long-term project, lose weight, save more money, take a dream vacation/trip, read a particular book, etc.?
I think it is helpful to do this about life in general. But it can also be tremendously helpful to do this in relationship to our spiritual life. Think about the following questions:
How was your walk with Jesus last year?
How did you grow spiritual last year?
What were your significant spiritual learnings last year?
How did you serve your neighbor last year?
How did you use your time, talents and treasures for the Kingdom of God?
And then ask yourself these questions using a future tense:
What do you want your walk with Jesus to look like this year?
How do you want to grow spiritual this year?
What things about God do you want to learn about this year?
How do you want to serve your neighbor this year?
How do you want to use your time, talents and treasures for the Kingdom of God in the upcoming year?
Take some time and look back and look forward as we approach the New Year. Then plan to work towards how you want the New Year to go.