"A Resolution Worth Keeping"
By: Ashley Boaeuf
Did you happen to make a resolution this year that led you straight to the gym? Or maybe you took to the Internet, conducting searches like, “best paleo diet recipe easy fast”? Maybe you took a vow to read more books; to get outdoors; to finally check that international vacation off of your bucket list. Whatever it may have been (and however seriously you may have taken it), there’s a pretty good chance that you at least gave it a thought, because when we’re not sliding on ice across three lanes of traffic, it is something of a New Year’s past time to make promises to ourselves of how we will be better in the new year.
But then February comes. Slowly but surely those resolutions start to take a toll. Our trips to the gym become less frequent, and our Paleo diet succumbs to the temptation of a delicious chocolate cheesecake (not that I’m speaking from experience, but – actually yes, I am most certainly speaking from experience.) Suddenly all these promises we’ve made to ourselves seem less attainable, maybe even impossible.
And maybe that’s okay.
Have you ever thought about the fact that New Years happens just one week after Christmas? In fact – it comes right in the middle of the church’s Christmas season! (Christmas lovers, rejoice! You may not win the argument to keep the decorations up until February, but you have until January 7th, at least.) Our culture makes it so easy to see these holidays exclusive to one another, but what would it do to our understanding of the New Year if we looked at it in proximity to Christ’s coming? Well, I think a few things might happen…
For one, I believe it would change more than our ability to see resolutions through; in fact, I think it would fundamentally alter our notion of resolutions altogether! With Christ at the center, suddenly we are no longer the focus of our own resolutions; rather, our eyes are turned to the cold, infant Jesus, resting on a bale of hay without shelter or a safe place to call “home”. And it’s there, in his eyes, that we are invited to greet all the others like him: all those who go without food, live outside of shelter, and all those who are persecuted and driven out of their homeland into exile. It is then that we are invited to participate in the transformation of God’s people and God’s world! Soon enough, our resolutions might begin to look more like that of a revolution – one that values love over hate, action over image, witness over want. With Christ at the center, those daunting, self-oriented resolutions fade in importance, and we are able to see what the new year could truly bring when we step aside and let God do the work in us and through us.
Consider this: what if our only resolution this year was to simply speak with more kindness, love in greater depth, or to listen with more sincerity and intentionality?
Well, my friends, I think that would be a resolution worth keeping. And maybe, just maybe, it could be our best year yet.