Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite holidays is New Year’s Day. A fresh start, new goals, a celebration with friends & spiritual refreshing - a few thoughts on what this means to me are listed below.

A Fresh Start
I enjoy the idea of a “fresh start” to a whole new calendar year. The following Bible verses also celebrate this concept of “newness.” In Christ, we experience “newness of life” when we give our lives to God – not only for the first time, when we begin to believe, but as we continue to open our hearts to receive His “new mercies” each and every day.
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What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
[2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT]

…with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.
[Colossians 3:10 NLT]

Sing new songs of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp and sing with joy.
[Psalm 33:3 NLT]

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
[Isaiah 43:19 ESV]

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
[Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV]

New Goals, Organizing & Prioritizing
After the wildly busy “Christmas season” - which, due to my seasonal buying responsibilities at Costco, starts for me in August - I enjoy a quiet day off (this time, it’s a 3-day weekend!) to evaluate, assess, and set goals for the new year. Many people make “New Year’s Resolutions;” I like to take this time to consider what God is speaking to my heart about the coming year, both spiritually and practically. For example, I’ll make a renewed commitment to specific, achievable goals for health and personal organization, which also free me to be and do all that God is speaking to my spirit for the year ahead. I review vacation & travel plans and other major events on the calendar. As we discussed in my last posting (“Waiting on God” 12/26/10), I want to walk in God’s timing, value each day that He gives me, and fulfill His plans & purposes for my life.
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Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom… Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
[Psalm 90: 12,14 NLT]

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
[Psalm 118:24 NIV]
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A Celebration with Friends
As in recent years, I’ll be having dinner at King of the Nations Christian Fellowship (http://www.kncf.org/) on New Year’s Eve. Each of us brings a favorite dish to share – in our multi-cultural congregation, that means a pretty good variety of international cuisine! Some will share personal stories about what God has done in their lives during the past 12 months; there will also be baptisms – another good sign of new life in Christ - and an inspirational message by the pastor for the coming year.

This isn’t a religious obligation – in fact, I realized a few years ago that these are the people I would choose to go out with even if we weren’t meeting “at church.” What I mean is, these are my real friends: when Connie or Anastasia asks how I’m doing, I know she really cares about my answer; if Marji or Brandy says she’ll pray for me, I know she actually does. I notice I don’t care as much about glamorous events or late-night parties as I do about sharing my life with people who care about all the big & small things that life is all about. I enjoy time with my natural (biological) family at Christmas, and I enjoy sharing a meal with my spiritual family on New Year’s Eve. We care about the friend whose dog is sick or whose child is struggling, and our fellowship with one another is rooted in the most important Friendship of all – we share in the Spirit of Christ.

Spiritual Drinking
Needless to say, many New Year’s celebrations involve drinking. Well, I’m glad to say I can drink all I want of God’s Spirit on New Year’s Eve (for more about spiritual drinking, see 12/15/10, “Learning to Drink in the Desert”) with no hangover to ruin my New Year’s Day! :) People thought the disciples were drunk when the Holy Spirit filled them on Pentecost (Acts 2), and the Bible is full of references to “new wine” as a symbol of joy in God’s Presence. (Joy is a subject I believe I’ll be writing more about this year.) God’s party offers the very best refreshments – we can drink of His Love, His truth, His pleasures, His Life… it’s an open bar (Jesus paid), so enjoy all you want, with no limits!

Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of Him.
[Ephesians 5:18 MSG]

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men…feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life…
[Psalm 36:7-9 NIV]

“Grace has to be drunk straight.”
– Winnie Coco Banov :)

2 comments:

  1. Happy New Year!!
    New Year's 2011 Fireworks Celebrations Around the World
    http://fireworks2011.blogspot.com/
    Demo on YouTube
    http://youtu.be/QlQ3b0TfiFM

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  2. Gina, I am glad to hear that you have found not only "fellowship" at your church, but friendship. That is wonderful! Nice addition to your blog, by the way. Happy New Year! Nancy

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