I love Thanksgiving. I enjoy everything about Christmas. New Year has never been my favorite. Maybe by the time New Year rolls around, I feel tired of holidays. Perhaps it’s the purposeful late night that no longer feels like fun. Maybe the idea that something magical happens when the clock strikes twelve is far behind me.
This holiday season is special, encouraging us to remember how near God has made Himself to us. Reminders of God’s redemptive plan coming to fruition flood this season in a way that brings deep comfort. The reality of the Gospel and the incredible goodness of God shine bright in this season.
Then all of a sudden, it’s time for a New Year. It can feel like a harsh pivot at times. From this sweet season of remembering who God is, quickly turning to thinking about who I am and maybe even more so, who I want to be. We are bombarded with pressure to consider how to be better, how to be more, what to change and how to enjoy our best year yet.
I don’t need a holiday to urge me to be introspective or evaluate where I fall short. These things are often on the forefront of my mind. The start of a new calendar does not enable me to be a better wife, mom, friend or daughter. It doesn’t empower me to live for Jesus, convince me of His love for me or help me to love those around me. It doesn’t motivate me to live with more joy, peace, self control or kind love.
So this New Year, I’m pushing aside the pressure to be different or do more or create change. I’m clinging to the things that made Christmas so comforting. The reality of the Gospel, the goodness of God, the love of Jesus, the faithfulness of our Father. Perhaps as I turn my gaze to God and His holiness, love and goodness, I will end 2021 looking more like Jesus than I do today. At the end of any year, being more like Jesus is the most we can hope for.
Tomorrow, on the first day of 2021, you will find me with a fresh planner, a new Bible reading plan and some hopes for the year. I fully expect that the planner won’t be perfectly complete, I will fall behind in my reading and those hopes for the new year may or may not come to pass. Yet, at the end of next year, God will still be on His throne, He will still be good and He will still be in the process of completing His work in me. The same as He has this year. Let’s hold onto the truths of Christmas a little longer this year.