Wednesday Word: Happy New Year

Happy New Year

While I greeted everyone at church with, “Happy New Year!” back on December 2nd as we moved into Advent and turned over the Church calendar to Year C, the rest of the world celebrated the arrival of the New Year on Monday evening/Tuesday morning. And whether you celebrated New Years by gathering downtown in the square to watch the donut drop, watched the apple or crystal ball drop at midnight, or lighted the first candle on the Advent wreath, a new year is here. And with that new year often comes new resolutions.

Those resolutions often revolve around being better in some way. A better diet. More exercise. Read more, watch TV less. Take a trip. I would be willing to bet that very few, if any, resolutions have to do with getting worse. But then again, watching the news certainly seems to indicate that some people are driven to do as much damage in the least amount of time as possible.

But let's stay positive here and go with the proposition that, generally speaking, people take this time of year to make resolutions that help them get better.

Joelene and I purchased a new-to-us elliptical exercise thingy. You know the drill – less impact, more calories, improved cardiovascular health. I'm considering selling 50/50 tickets at coffee hour to see how long it takes before that machine becomes an expensive clothes hanger. But we'll see.

I say that tongue-in-cheek, but there's a grain of truth to it. People start with good intentions but then those intentions begin to slip away as the tide of life slowly, but surely, rolls on.

Next Sunday, January 13, is the First Sunday after the Epiphany, and is marked as the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. This is one of the five appointed days listed as appropriate for baptisms or renewal of vows, and we will be renewing our baptismal vows at both services.

In a way our baptism is like a New Years resolution. We (or people on our behalf) resolve to be better people in the future. We promise to make positive changes that will help with our overall health and the health of the world around us. But like those exercise machine that eventually collect clothes and/or dust, or the gym memberships whose most frequent exercise involves transferring monthly fees to the gym, our baptismal vows also fall by the wayside.

This is why we renew our vows so often. We don't only do this once a year in a mad dash to make everything right overnight; we do it four or five times a year in order to remind us of what we resolved to do and, hopefully, help shape us into the type of person we want to be.

This year I resolve to continue in the fellowship and prayers. This year I resolve to resist evil. This year I resolve to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. This year I resolve to love all persons as I love myself. This year I resolve to strive for justice.

And if I find those resolutions hanging on an unused exercise machine, I'll again remind myself of what I'm supposed to be doing on June 9.



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