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Column: Let’s Stop Splitting! HAPPY NEW YEAR! WELCOME 2024

By: Mike Kelly
Retired Pastor

I don’t want to burst your bubble but in reality, Jan 1, 2024 is just the next calendar day after Dec 31, 2023. If I were Jewish, my new year would have begun Sept. 15 and this would be the year 5784.

If I were Muslim, my new year would have begun July 19 and we’d be in year 1245. If I were Chinese, we’d begin year 4723 on Feb 9.

As I said, Jan 1 is just the next calendar day. So why is it such a big deal? Why are so many going to go out and celebrate? Why so many NY Eve parties?

For about 25 years, I was a part of the Safe Ride Home Program where we went and picked up people smart enough to know that they shouldn’t be driving home after partying.

One lady told me that she only drank on one day of the year. At that point in the night, however, she wasn’t sure if she drank only on the last day of the year or only on the first day of the new year.

Why all the hype? Few get overly excited when Feb 3 turns into Feb 4. Or Oct 6 into Oct 7.

For some reason, other major events just don’t do it as well as the “New Year”. My birthday doesn’t feel like a fresh start. It feels more like “ Oh, Dear” rather than “Hoorah!”

I think we all like a fresh start. A way to wipe away the burdens, the struggles, the failures of the past and give ourselves a new chance to start clean. To give ourselves a new hope.

Maybe that’s where the idea or tradition of “New Year’s Resolutions” comes from. Every year there are articles in magazines and many TV shows are devoted to making better resolutions so that you have less regrets at the end of this new year.

Maybe my NY resolution will be to eat better or to exercise more or to read my Bible daily or to pray more or to love more or to have more patience with those who bug me.

Maybe I’ll resolve to study more, or to find a new friend or to stop gossiping or to take a new class for my own enrichment. Maybe I’ll promise myself to drive better or to take up a hobby or to work less.

There are all kinds of regrets that the end of a year gives us time to reflect on and to decide to do better at living in such a manner that we will enjoy the next year and have fewer regrets at the end of it.

It’s all about hope! So where does our hope come from? I learned a very long time ago that making new year resolutions was a hopeless task not a hope inspired task.

The only NY Resolution I have ever kept was the year I resolved to stop making NY Resolutions! Other than that, I failed them all.

I simply lacked the desire to make the kind of changes that would represent the fulfillment of the resolutions to bring me happiness or a seemingly better life  in the new year.

Let me share with you a scripture that you might find useful at this time of the year. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: “16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Maybe all we should look for in the new year is for God to give us the strength to live good lives in both word and deed.

Then, when we look back on 2024, we will see that we may not have lost weight or learned a new hobby, but we have made a difference in the world and the lives of those around us.

Isn’t that where true happiness and contentment come in? In loving others as God loves us? May your new year be filled with great joy, good health, and God’s many blessings.

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Mike Kelly is the founding pastor of Bryan’s Grace Community Church (retired) and Board Chairman of Bryan’s Sanctuary Homeless Shelter and Williams County’s Compassion (free) Medical Clinic.


 

The post Column: Let’s Stop Splitting! HAPPY NEW YEAR! WELCOME 2024 first appeared on The Village Reporter.


Source: The Village Reporter

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