What Does the New Year Mean to Us Spiritually?
by Kevin Kinley
Throughout history, nearly all cultures have observed the end of one year and the beginning of another. New Year’s traditions and celebrations have been going on since Ancient Rome. It’s a time for us to symbolically leave the previous year in the past and to begin the New Year on a clean slate. Even our seasons and weather patterns represent the birth of the new year, where the sun comes back and the days get longer.
One popular tradition many of us practice is making New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions can be a great source of motivation, accountability and positivity … which are all great.
What’s more important though, is not what our resolutions are, but rather the reason(s) behind them.
As Christians, we believe that God loves us regardless of our failures, shortcomings and self-doubt—and that he has paid the price and gives us value. But many times, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, they become a disguise to generate our own value by working harder, doing more or succeeding. And many times, the desired results of our resolutions are for self-worth (losing weight to look better, being successful, feeling good about yourself, etc.) and we don’t think about how we could be praising God through them.
An example I read is the New Year’s resolution of wanting to read the Bible more. Do we want to read more so we feel better in God’s eyes, which equates to love? Or do we do it knowing that we are already loved and that reading God’s Word will only strengthen our understanding of the gospel and help remind us that Jesus has conquered God’s judgment, our own judgment and the judgment of others.
Again, it’s not that these things [resolutions] are inherently bad or unhealthy, but rather they become burdening and an attempt at making ourselves more desirable and deserving of God’s love, acceptance, mercy and grace.
Hopefully you can take time to reflect this New Year’s on the year behind and all of the blessings you can praise God for. And prepare for the year to come and know that God’s love for you and your worth are established already. Regardless if you failed last year, or will fail in the year to come. He has won. May we start this New Year by celebrating our value in Jesus.