“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Each year in the week between the feast of the nativity (Christmas Day) and the start of the New Year many people begin to make resolutions for the coming year. As Christians, our new year began on the first Sunday of Advent; however, we often to do not consider the start of the liturgical year as a time to make resolutions and align our resolution making with the civil calendar.
This year we encourage you to take the opportunity to make all of your New Year’s resolutions ones that will deepen your relationship with Christ and strengthen your soul. Here are some ways to think through this:
- Be open to God’s grace at work within you. As Methodists we believe that God is working through us all the time. As you consider your resolutions, spend time in prayer. Ask God what God’s hopes are for you in the coming year. As the year progresses, be open to the way that God may lead you in new ways and to new places.
- Rewrite your current resolutions. How can you rewrite them to keep Jesus at the center? For example, one of the most common new year’s resolutions is weight loss. Rephrase “I want to lose weight” to “I am a beloved child of God. I am thankful for the body that God has given me. My body is a good body. This year I will show gratitude for my body by using it well and give thanks for the bounty of God’s earth through the eating of more fruits and vegetables.”
- Look to the example of our ancestors in faith. Who do you admire most in the Bible or in our Methodist tradition? Whose faith do you admire in your own life? How did that person/persons grow in her/his relationship with God? How can you emmulate her/his example this year?
- Pray on New Year’s Eve. Early in our Methodist tradition, John Wesley introduced “watch night” services on New Year’s Eve. As an alternative to the drunken revels of others, Methodists would gather together for prayer, singing, Scripture reading and renewing their committment to grow in their faith. You likely already have plans for New Year’s Eve. Within those plans, take a moment away from others and ask God to be present with you in the coming year and guide you deeper into your faith.