The start of a new year is traditionally the time when resolutions and new commitments are made.
A little self-reflection, as one comes to the end of one year and the start of a new one, often reveals areas where improvement is desired or bad habits that need to be broken for life to be better.
Even so, good intentions alone aren’t enough. Forces of habit and conditioning soon swell back up, and resolutions are set aside and forgotten.
This reality can be discouraging and even a bit disabling. Especially when we realize we attempted to do it all by ourselves and on our own power.
For those of us who view all of life through the lens of faith, we find the real strength needed to change by acknowledging that every day is a gift given to us by God. So, whether the day is overflowing with activities and interactions, experiences and adventures, or if it is a quiet, peaceful, solitary experience, it is still is a gift.
When viewed as a gift, each day becomes something to be opened and treasured, enjoyed, experienced and appreciated to the fullest of our ability.
Filled with trust in a God who is ever at work for good in the world and in us, and who delights in surprising and filling us with awe and wonder, we can look forward in eager anticipation of the blessings that await us.
We can let go of the burden of “might have been” or “should have been.”
Not that every day will be perfect or pleasant, or even easy. But faith in God means that even in those days, God will still be with us, close by, to guide and support us, and to love us, regardless if we judge ourselves successful or not.
But we will still have to choose. It will be our choice. We can ignore the signs of God’s work around and in us and the blessings that come every day. Or we can choose to be intentional in expressing great gratitude for everything that each day holds.
And with that, whether 2019 holds a full 365 days or just one more, it does not matter. In any case, we can and will say “Thanks” to God for all that has been, and will say “Yes” to all that lies ahead.
May it be true for us all in 2019.
Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.