Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Clean Slate

My favorite thing about January is the feeling that everything is new… reborn, if you will. In our house the Christmas decorations often come down on January first or second. After the months-long slog of all the year-end spectacles, with the holiday chaos, parties and recitals, travel and general running around, I am always ready for a fresh start. It’s a new year! With everything clean, the air crisp and clear, the  possibilities seem endless!

Some people suffer from depression after December’s gone, and that’s understandable. People are often left so spent when it’s over that their defenses are down, and they feel they have nothing to look forward to. The build up to Christmas is so overblown that it’s inevitable to feel let down and sad when it’s over..

Instead, rejoice in the opportunities offered by the new year. It’s a chance to think on what has gone before; that is the point of the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne. "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, can be translated as "for the sake of old times". By reflecting on everything that has gotten you to where you are, you are ready then to look forward, and plot a course to where you want to go. Whether related to work, spirituality or relationships, health and fitness or artistic pursuits, the beginning of the year is a time when we can hit the reset button. We can pick up things we had put down, or start from scratch as needed. We can rededicate ourselves to the things that matter in our lives.

During the holiday season, it’s easy to let things slip, thinking that it’s too hectic to maintain our regular habits, routines AND "do Christmas." Things like eating right, devoting time to prayer, volunteering or spending regular time with our spouse can all fall by the wayside. The problem is that “the holidays” seem to get longer each year. As Loudon Wainwright III sang, “Christmas comes but once a year -
and goes on for two months.” That is long enough for these omissions to become (bad) habits. That makes it much harder to get back on the right path(s) come January; harder, but not impossible.

As we put away the decorations, and throw away the tree, now dry, sharp and painful to the touch, lets think about what behaviors, what attitudes, what untruths need also be disposed of. As Paul writes in Romans 12:2 transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Use the new year as a reason to take stock of your life, and your marriage. Where are you now in your relationship with your spouse? What got you to this point? Where do you want to be? Use this time to return your marriage to a strong foundation, and then talk with your spouse about where you want to go, what you want your marriage to be. Make plans together to build each other up and grow closer to each other, and to God. It is in Him that the best plans will be found. Proverbs 3:6 says

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.

Where will you be next year at this time? The answer will come from how you plan, how hard you work, and how attentive you are to the will of God in your life. The slate is clean though, so you can choose the answers to all these questions. Right now (and with God; Luke 1:37) nothing is impossible!

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