It's a new year.
Last night I was at my sister's, visiting with her family. Over a new year's dinner of tacos we talked about the new year. One of my nieces was particularly enthusiastic about the new year, while her father was more of the idea that "it's just another day.". All in all, it made a lively discussion.
I tend to fall into the symbolic camp. I think it is good for us to have a moment in time to remind us that we can start anew, that there is always another chance, a place where we can plant our flag and say "the past is past, from here on I (insert change here)." It is a place we can place our failures where they belong, behind us.
Maybe we will make the change. Maybe we will not. But New Year's day is a symbolic place that reminds us of grace, of redemption, and that it is always there before us, should we decide to claim it. It is another chance. I think it is one of the great holidays for the way it reminds us of God's grace.
I tend not to make resolutions. I have in the past, but in recent years, I have moved towards a place where instead of resolutions, I decide on the things I want to focus on for the next year. Resolutions, I think, tend to focus too much on the results, not the progress. This sets us up for failure, and worse, the feeling of failure when perhaps that is not the whole story. You can say "I am going to lose 25 pounds." and lose 20, yet feel like a failure. There is no place for progress in a resolution, only for total success or total failure.
Instead, I tend towards deciding on a place or two I want to make progress. Focuses I call them. And through the year I make an effort to focus on improvement in those areas. I find that when I do that, I make progress. Maybe I don't get to a perfect place in that area of life, but I inevitably improve. There is progress. And progress brings on a sense of well being, and a sense that there can be more progress.
So as I begin the new year, I begin it with a wish that all of you who read me regularly experience the grace and hope of a new year. And that you find your own place of progress in the new year.
The picture was taken in Rupert, Vermont. You can click on it for a larger version.