Four intentions for a hopeful New Year, with the help of God, angels and community.
I’m not really one for making New Year’s Resolutions because, well, I suspect I wouldn’t be very good at it. By the end of January, a decision to give up chocolate or not ever utter a judgmental comment or always remember friends’ birthdays would be toast.
Instead of steel-clad, iron-bound New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to give myself New Year’s Hopes. The difference? A hope is not something I can really accomplish on my own through intense self-discipline or stick-to-it-iveness. It’s something that the angels in heaven and all God’s minions will have to help me accomplish.
My hopes this year?
Oh, I wish and pray for a truckload of peace to descend on all the places of the world that suffer from violence and intense animosity. That doesn’t mean simply across the globe. Peace can be needed closer to home. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said. “My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives.” (John 14:27)
It’s so easy to insist with all good intentions and much argumentation that “I am right.” I don’t really ask for that. Let me be wrong sometime and know it and accept it. More important, let me understand those that I disagree with. Isn’t that why Jesus asked us to love our enemies?
“Stay alert,” our Lord said to His disciples. Be on the lookout. Let me be ever alert to all those opportunities that are before me to be a willing servant, a helpful hand, a listening ear, a calming presence. I suspect those opportunities are legion. May I not miss a one of them.
Seventy times seventy, as Jesus said. Obviously that means forgiving the wrongs others have done me (and forgiving them more than once–it never seems to be over and done with in an instant). But it also means forgiving myself for all the petty grievances I carry about, to simply shake them off and be done with them.
I don’t know if Jesus ever made New Year’s Resolutions. But I do know that He believed in the power of people to change. He changed all those who came to Him asking for change, asking to be healed, asking to become someone new.
What are your prayers for the New Year? May they all be answered, every one of them.