I think it is safe to say that 2012 was our nation’s anus mirabilis. After an amazing year with the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics, 2013 is going to have its work cut out. As the old cliché goes, follow that!
Now I appreciate it all looks a bit bleak. What with Christmas over, leaving many of us picking out the pine needles from our carpet for the rest of month. Of course, the winter sales might help a few of us fight the ‘January blues’ but, then, what?
And I would also ask you to spare a kindly thought for the poor, beleaguered commuters who will have another hit on their exhausted wallets with travel fare increases (which tends to be as much as a tradition as Christmas itself). So, come on, let’s just stand back take a deep breath and get some perspective.
2013 it will be the 2013th year Anno Domini, or Common Era, the 13th year of the third millennium and of the 21st century.
Now doesn’t that sound suddenly quite significant? I mean, it would suggest that we are in the middle of something bigger than ourselves.
What makes a remarkable year is not just national or international events, but a history of people doing everyday ‘people stuff’. We can choose to do good ‘people stuff’ or bad ‘people stuff’. Each will leave its legacy.
Each a day is a God-given opportunity to deposit a gift of goodness in the life of someone else. It doesn’t have to be of Nobel Peace proportions or worthy of a Personality of the Year Award. It just has to be a small act of kindness that reminds each other of the great gift of life we have all been given.
Jesus understood well what it was to have a positive attitude towards the future, knowing life to be fraught and uncertain for many people: ”I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns…Are you not more valuable than they?
In short, enjoy the day, don’t rue the past or fret for the future. Live each day as a gift from God and count your blessings.
So here is my challenge for us all in 2013. How about pledging to undertake a year of living generously?
Become more generous with your friendship, time, money and energy. Be more generous with yourself and imagine a different way of living, be innovative, try new things, believe that things can be better, simpler and more beautiful.
At the beginning of each year I encourage my church to reflect a little on our own personal visions for our lives. I like to ask: what are our expectations? What do we want from life? What do we want to improve upon?
Maybe it is improving the quality of the relationship with our children or partner. Maybe it is something simple like reading more, praying more, giving more. Maybe it is working on some personal character issues.
The point is, we are created to be purposeful. We believe that God wants us to reach our full potential as human beings and get the most out of the precious life given to us.
After all, Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.”
So we go into 2013, knowing it will be different to 2012, but with new expectations that it will be another year of life-changing experiences. It will undoubtedly have its challenges and difficulties, but it is in these times that faith is fashioned and our awareness of God’s involvement in everyday life grows.
For many of us, it will undoubtedly be a full year, but hopefully it will be a fulfilling one too. For the Christian who believes in the ‘life-giver’, it comes with that deeper profundity still.
Whatever you do, I wish you a very happy and life-enriching New Year.