Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year

It is out with the old and in with the new!

Today is New Year's Eve and a new day is upon us. With 2010 in our midst, we are set to ponder the past year and anticipate the next with hope. For many of us, it is time to purge our closets of outdated clothes, underused gadgets, and forgotten toys to make way for the newly acquired treasures from Christmas. It is a time-consuming yet rewarding venture that usually fills my days in the week before the new year. But this year is different somehow. Rather than emptying my closets, I have found myself purging my spirit. And it started with something wise my seven year old said to me one morning earlier this week.

I had just awoken to a chilly morning as I sat at the computer, drinking my coffee, and checking out the daily headlines. Meanwhile, while my daughter Lily, an early riser herself, colored at the kitchen table. The day was new and the house was quiet and to my delight, Lily was absorbed in her creation. The stillness of the morning allowed me to hear nothing but the birds quietly chirping outside as Lily pushed her crayons across her paper. Enthralled in the news of the day,I was completely enjoying the peaceful beginning of my morning as I rose to get a second cup of coffee. At this same time, Lily finished her masterpiece and proudly brought it over to share it with me. With clarity and love, her simple picture beautifully illustrated the change Christ makes in a penitent heart. "Look Mommy," she said innocently. " We have to get the yucky stuff out of our hearts to make room for Jesus." I sat amazed at the wisdom of my child as God reminded me that now is a perfect time for some spiritual house-cleaning.

So, that is what I have been doing these past few days. When I reflect on the year behind me, I am amazed by the many provisions God has graciously placed before my family. Through God's goodness, we have been lavished with love and protection in countless ways. Truly, the Lord has given us many reasons to offer him praise. And yet, too often my heart has been consumed with worry. Hurried and distracted, I sometimes focus too much on what God hasn't done instead of what He has already freely given in my life. And I am ashamed at my lack of gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. It is an attitude of worry and discontent that must be purged to make room for the hope I have in Christ. It is out with a heart of discontent, and in with an attitude of gratitude. I resolve to embrace faith rather than fear. And in all things, I am committed to seek God first and believe He is near even when He seems silent.

And as we reflect on the highs and lows of 2009, it is most certainly a perfect time to resolve to begin anew with God. With faith and repentance, it is time to make some room in our hearts for the things valued in God's eternal kingdom. Now is the time to "rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit".(Ezekiel 18:31 NIV) For if we turn our heart towards our Savior he promises "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 1:19 NIV) Let's resolve to begin our new year with God and make room in our hearts for Christ.

Dear God,
I repent of the attitudes that keep me separated from you. I give you my discontent, my worry, my empty desires and I ask you for a new heart. Fill me with your goodness, your love, your kindness. Help me be more patient and to demonstrate your goodness to those in my midst. Let me boldy speak truth with love and be the influence you call me to be among those you have placed around me. Let me begin anew as I live for you.

Reflection: What attitudes need to be made new in your heart this New Year?

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