I’m about to confess something that may make me wildly unpopular, but here goes: I don’t really like New Year’s Eve/Day as a holiday.
Author’s note: Please filter this post with the understanding that as I write this, I am by turns smiling, laughing, and teary-eyed. I am by no means sitting on my couch with a soured frown and permanent crease between my eyebrows. Thank you.
I think I gave up on making resolutions in high school. Why make more goals (read rules) for myself when I struggle and then fail to keep them? Why, yes, I think I’ll start my new year off by setting myself up for disappointment. (Okay, I don’t really feel that strongly about it. But, in all fairness, I think there are enough self-help articles about actually keeping the New Year’s resolutions one didn’t manage to keep last year to support my point here.)
Getting new planners is nice, but the empty pages will invariably fill with same busyness of last year.
I see friends on social media getting “excited about what 2015 will bring”. Like many people, I’m still blinking in sad disbelief at what 2014 “brought” and can’t even begin to try to guess what could happen in the next 365 days.
To be honest, I think my lack of enthusiasm over a new year is a combination of fear of the unknown, lack of thankfulness, the fact that life is hard (and often sad), and the desire for something new when every year is filled with so much old.
Now that I think about it, I may be more of a New Year’s Charlie Brown than a Scrooge. In the movie ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, Charlie Brown is depressed and unsatisfied with the popular, commercial meaning of Christmas. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I celebrate it for months. But, switch out Christmas with New Year celebrations, and I understand him perfectly.
Really, what I love the most about Christmas is also the one thing I need for the incoming New Year. To me, Christmas means joy and hope. It means longings fulfilled. I look at every nativity scene and see Christ come to earth. I sing along to my favorite Christmas songs:
Father in heaven,
You gave us reason to see past the pain of today
Unending hope for all time
When the King of the ages arrived — Selah, “Joy”
Christ is come. Even though this past Christmas morning brought news of a friend’s death (as did the Christmas morning before that), I know that Christ has come. And I know that those friends are truly and perfectly whole and home because of Christ. In every aspect of Christmas, I see Christ.
Then it hit me: because that’s what New Year’s is all about, Charlie Brown.
It may not seem like a profound revelation, but it was for me. The reason I don’t like New Year’s is because I don’t look into the new year and see Christ. I don’t need to be the best me by losing weight, or running, managing my time more, or getting excited about a new year of possibilities. I need to see Christ.
If I hope in resolutions, I will fall flat. I can accomplish them and still feel empty. My only hope is Christ. The only redemption for the reoccurring old in the new year is that Christ is still at work, even if it seems things don’t change. I need to not fear the unknown because I see the One I trust the most guiding me there. I can evaluate the old year with thankfulness because Christ was in it. I can set goals for the new year because I’m able to ask Him, “Lord, what would you have me do?”
So, I look into the new year and see that I will go back to the same classroom, write the same (but hopefully improved) lesson plans, try to maintain focus through the same evaluation and state testing stress, laugh off the same singleness comments, enjoy one last year in my 20s, read new books, try to prioritize better, hopefully eat healthier, maybe blog more, and meet with many happy and sad unknowns. But, above all that, by the grace of God, I look into the new year and I see Christ.
“O to enter this new year with the realization that the one who loved me and gave Himself for me, accompanies me into it! Then why should I fear what may lay ahead of me? Whatever may be my circumstances, whatever changes I may pass through, whatever I may be called upon to bear – Christ Himself will be my constant companion! But only faith – not imagination or feelings – will be able to realize and appreciate His presence.”~ Arthur Pink, “His Presence”
Oh that the whole world would know this joy.