I gave ministry at meeting this past week about the importance of thinking about the traditions we choose to uphold. I was thinking about the advent wreath and Christmas trees and all the other trappings of Christmas, but perhaps a more important thing for me to be thinking about this time of year is the tradition of making New Year's resolutions.
For me, the new year is a good time to reflect on the past year and think about the changes I want to make in my life. New Year's resolutions have been a good way for me to make those changes. Sometimes they stick beyond the year, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes I meet my goals and sometimes I don't. The year I decided to read the Bible I didn't quite make it in time. The year I decided to stop buying leather I not only succeeded, but haven't gone back.
I'm aware that the new year is an arbitrary date, just like Christmas. But it serves a purpose in my life as a way of marking time. The tradition of New Year's resolutions is helpful to me and so I choose to observe it. Last year I didn't make a resolution, as a way of trying to be gentler with myself, but I missed it. I don't think I was any gentler on myself for laying the tradition aside. This year, I think I'm going to try to do something again, perhaps trying the whole Bible thing again. I want to find something that adds something to my daily spiritual life and encourages thoughtfulness and gratitude.
This past year has been a difficult one, filled with health and financial problems, but I am feeling blessed today. I'm feeling somewhat better, if not fully well. I have friends and family who can afford to help me weather the financial strains of my illness. I have a positive living situation and job security. I am loved and I want to add something to my spiritual disciple to help me remember that. Any suggestions?