Sunday, January 01, 2012
A New Year
I love that the first day of this new year was the Lord’s Day, allowing us to make the most important thing we do the first family activity of the year. We met for worship with our church family and then gathered around our table for a delicious meal, prepared by my bride, and were entertained by grandchildren until naptime. We do that every Sunday. The fact that today was no different, that God has graced my family with hearts that long to worship Him and a deep love for each other made me all the more thankful. Yet, we have had some changes in our family this last year that made it even more meaningful. One year ago today we were filled with bittersweet emotions since our son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and unborn granddaughter had just left on New Years Eve for language school in Costa Rica. We were painfully aware last year on New Years Day that our table was emptier, but still thankful that they were seeking to serve Jesus on the mission field. They are home now, raising support to live and serve Him in Ecuador so we had all of us together today. We also had the blessing of attending an ultrasound appointment with my daughter and son-in-law yesterday. We saw our newest grandchild moving around and stretching, and learned that she is a little girl. God is increasing our tribe and blessing us so richly. Last night we ended the year with what has become a family tradition for us—burning the “old man.” The people in Ecuador end every year with the burning of Paper Mache figures representing all the problems and ills of the past year, symbolically saying goodbye to the past and anticipating a fresh new year. We learned that practice from our friends in the Ecuadorian culture, practiced it with our mission family, and have continued it as a family tradition ever since we returned from Ecuador nine years ago. Of course, we realize that this is merely a fun tradition and that there is nothing substantial in the symbolism. We know that the One who controls every detail of our lives—past, present, and future—is the One we worship every day, especially the first day of the week. All of us have traditions of some kind. One of the most common New Years traditions is the making and breaking of resolutions. Our pastor announced today that he is tired of not getting out of January without breaking his resolutions, so he intentionally made some resolutions to break in the first week so he could have some success in the matter! You read a lot of bloggers and columnists who announce resolutions this time of year. I never read them, not at this time of year anyway—maybe if they were written at the end of the year to announce what resolutions they had made and actually kept all year long. At the end of the day, the most important activity of life, the chief end of man, is to know Christ and make Him known. To exalt Christ, to glorify the Lord Jesus, to make him famous all over His world is what I resolve to do. I know I will break this resolution, but I resolve to return to it when I do. I want to finish well, and the best way to finish well is to begin again every single day. That’s what I loved about New Years Day this year. We started with the end in mind, doing what we will do for eternity. We worship You, King Jesus, and by Your grace and for Your glory, we always will.