As I listen to people around me and scroll through social media today, people all over the world are acknowledging the passing of another year in various ways. Many are choosing to stay at home and avoid the New Year's Eve celebrations and parties, whilst others are planning to go all out and celebrate as much as possible.
Regardless of our preference or how we look at the numerous yearly markers on our calendars, (and yes there can be a lot of them), the significant days and our recognition of them do give us a chance to pause, reflect, and give thanks.
Acknowledging and celebrating significant days is actually a God idea if you consider all the dates, celebrations and traditions God put in place throughout scripture. Jesus himself celebrated, foreshadowed and fulfilled numerous holiday celebrations such as; Passover (Luke 2:40-43), The Feast of Unleavened bread (Luke 22:7-8), The feast of First Fruits (the first of the crops – Matt 28:1-2,6), Shavuot (Pentecost – Acts 2:1-4). The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot – John 7:1-10), The Feast of Dedication (Festival of Lights or Hanukkah – John 10:22-23)
The example Jesus set of pausing to celebrate and acknowledge God's goodness, provision, care, and faithfulness is a powerful way to bring in a New Year and how we can learn to give thanks for the blessing of every day.
This New Year's Eve, and in the year ahead, I encourage you to take time to honour and give thanks regularly.
If you make New Year Resolutions, (or even if you don't) here are some tips for today and moving forward:
1. Determine to be grateful for the small things in your life. Search for the little slivers of joy in your day because when you begin to notice them, they add up.
2. Consider keeping a journal, making a note on your phone or having a gratitude jar to document one or more things you are grateful for daily. Then re-read them at the end of the month and year to remind yourself how blessed you are and all that God has done in your life. It's easy to forget in all the busyness and in all that can happen in a week, let alone a year, so making a note is a great way to remember.
3. Aim to give at least one compliment every day, whether directly to a person or by sharing your appreciation of something.
4. Instead of looking at your job, home, looks, partner, relationships or anything else in your life and wishing they were different, determine to honour what you have already. Look for the positives and the attributes you appreciate rather than the things you don't like about yourself and your life.
As we honour and hold what we have already in high esteem, we'll focus on the good things and God's hand upon our lives. Consequently, we become more patient, loving, considerate, satisfied, grateful, take hold of opportunities, bounce back from disappointments easier and have more fun in life.
Happy New Year :)
"This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
"And on that day, you will say, "Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted." Praise the LORD in song, for He has done glorious things;
Prayer: Lord, please help me have eyes to see and a heart to acknowledge all that I have in my life. I honour and give you thanks for everything and everyone in my life today, for the past year and the year ahead and especially that I can know you. In Jesus name Amen.