Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! –2 Corinthians 5:17
My friend is a personal trainer. She is in the midst of her busiest time of year. January 1st rolls around and without fail, she gets a slew of new clients looking to jump start their exercise regiment. And without fail, most of those people have stopped seeing her within a few months. People want to be outside in the summer, sure, but the ebb and flow also has to do with failed annual resolutions.
Oh, New Year’s. It’s the time of year we get reflective, looking back on 2014 and hoping for 2015. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that last a few weeks and then drop off. January 1st feels like a clean slate, and our resolutions reflect a kind of self-scolding. We try to become something completely different on the morning of January 1st. I will exercise. I will stop smoking. I will swear less. I will choose a book instead of television. I will be better, different, more. Expecting this abrupt transformation of ourselves is often just setting ourselves up for failure. So many of us will try, starting January 1, to make our lives cleaner and more in control, which means somewhere deep inside that we believe this change will birth be better versions of ourselves and we will like ourselves more.
The spiritual life warns us against such a January 1 transformation mindset. We are not in control. Life is messy. We will fall short every day. There is no moment when we will arrive at a destination and be done with the work of being human. And we have God’s love anyway. January 1, yes, but also on March 22 and May 13 and August 5 and November 30 we wake in the morning to a new life in Christ with the abundant love of the one who created us. Every morning God calls us to follow in the ways of love and peace, to strive to live in Christ yet again.
I do take advantage of the Gregorian calendar as well as the Liturgical one and get a bit reflective around January 1. But this year I am not making any New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I hope to wake up with the same hope I had on December 31 and will have on January 2 as well. I hope to wake up in the knowledge that I am loved by God, with my eyes on Christ, moving slowly and often stumbling toward who God keeps creating me to be anew today and forever.