January in Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t usually bring much joy to those of us who live here. It’s the darkest, snowiest, windiest, and coldest time of the year. Along with the poor weather, January is often a month of regret as we all get bills from our Christmas shopping, and we realize how much we overspent in an effort to make the holidays great. After all the celebrating in December, most people feel somewhat let down in January and look to change their ways by trying to drink less, eat less, exercise more! The beginning of a new year gives everyone a chance to start fresh—replace bad habits with good ones—make promises to themselves that this year will be different!
So, gyms get a huge boost in business! Weight loss clinics have tons of new clients! The liquor store isn’t as busy! The shopping malls are ghost towns! We begin the year determined to change ourselves!
Unfortunately, all these things focus on our “physical” selves. Somewhere along the ages, we think the only things we can change about ourselves is our “outsides.” Most people at the beginning of a new year don’t consider making changes that would improve their “inner” selves. How many people say to themselves New Year’s Eve, “My resolution this year is to be kinder.” “I want to be more compassionate.” “I want to be more generous.” “I want to be more spiritual.”
A small fraction of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually maintain the resolution for the rest of the year. Imagine for a moment if instead of joining the gym for January, those people decided to go to church for the new year!
Our Lord and Saviour teaches us to love one another. Jesus ate with the outcasts of society. He healed the lepers. He healed the sick and the suffering. He accepted all those who came to Him. He tells us to be kind, to be generous, to begin with love. Jesus showed us how to change ourselves so we could live with him in heaven for eternity.
As a Christian, begin your new year by renewing your connection with God. Go to his house, share his word, and sing his praises. Make January the month of joy by strengthening God’s love in your life.
God bless you all.