new year, new hope

The beginning of a new year always brings a feeling of great expectation. It’s strange really, but when January 1st comes, we feel that we’ve been given a tabla rosa, a clean slate. It’s a chance to evaluate and to dream. We decide on resolutions for the new year thinking about goals we want to accomplish.

But underneath there’s something more profound going on. Beneath the new year’s resolutions there is an aching to become something more than we are, something more than we have been. It seems to be less about the goals of “doing” and more about the dream of “being” and “becoming.”

It’s exciting really…to have a fresh start. This past week, Laura and I have been thinking about our new year’s resolutions with some anticipation. We asked ourselves two questions. How can we continue to thrive in our marriage? And how can we seek God together this year?

So we have two resolutions for 2006. 1) We want to diligently keep our weekly “couple-conversation” time where we do four important things (affirm, talk about issues, share what we’re learning from God, discuss schedules). 2) We’re going to read through the Bible in a year together using a really cool Chronological Bible.

Statisticsshow that 64% of people are still keeping their resolutions after 30 days, and 46% after 6 months. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the busyness of life. The hope for succeeding in my goals might easily come from a confidence in my own effort and diligence. But the hope of becoming something more and of being transformed in my character and nature flows from a deep experience of grace. By “grace” I mean a clean slate or a gift given freely, without cost, and without any strings attached. Grace gives a fresh start. Grace empowers.

The grace of God is on our minds as we’re entering 2006. There is a paragraph from the Bible that we’re excited about these days, Lamentations 3:21-23. Though it was written almost 600 years before Jesus walked the earth, I can’t help thinking that it was written with Jesus in mind. “This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Happy New Year!!