I have always had a love/hate relationship with the start of a New Year. On one hand, I see it as a fresh opportunity, stretching out before me like a pristine beach at sunrise. Untouched, unspoiled, full of promise.
Then there’s the other side of that coin: Looking back at the old year with regret and seeing the missed opportunities and failures. The "could haves" and the "should haves."
A few years ago, our family started a tradition at the start of the New Year. It didn’t involve the typical New Year’s Day fare of corned beef, black-eyed peas or cabbage (thank goodness!) or the writing of resolutions. But it did involve food for the soul.
This tradition has quickly become one of my favorites – choosing a word that we want to characterize our new year.
So on New Year’s Day, we all gather at the table and write our words with a corresponding Scripture verse on index cards. And we take turns sharing our words with each other and describing our vision for using the word in the year ahead.
It seems simple. But each year, this little tradition has had a profound impact on our family. Each year, we come back together and share stories about our word from the previous year, and how God used that one little word in our lives.
In the past, my words have included character traits (gentleness), things I want to become (captivated - click on the link for an explanation) and spiritual disciplines on which I’d like to focus (prayer). This year, I thought I had chosen my word, but then something changed. I read a Scripture on the morning of New Year’s Eve, and it was like God saying, “This is it.”
You show that you are a letter from Christ… written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
I knew after reading this Scripture that my word for 2014 would be WRITE. Of course, the word has dual meaning, because I’m a writer and have set certain goals for my writing. But the other meaning is far more significant to me: This year I intend to open an empty page and invite God to write His story with my life. I want to show others that I’m a letter from Christ. I desire for my life to be an instrument in the hand of God so He can etch out His words on tablet of my heart.
Father, You are the Author of me, and Your grace and eloquence are abundant in my life. Write your words through me. Help my life to communicate Your love, Your peace, Your joy, Your truth. You are the Word. Without You, I have no words. Speak through me, Father, and make me Your letter.
Have you chosen your word for 2014? If not, it’s not too late! Start now, pray for guidance, choose one word and see how God will transform your life!