Today is the first day of Advent. Just as New Year’s Day is the start of a new calendar year, Advent is the start of a new church year.
Which makes it the perfect time to start over. Start afresh. A perfect time to think about and prepare for the birth of a baby, not only in a manger thousands of years ago, but in our lives every day. How can we prepare a place in our hearts for that baby? What resolutions can we make in this new church year that will make our hearts the perfect birthing place for Jesus … again?
Here are a few resolutions I have thought of:
We’ve all heard the phrase “Live every day like it was your last.” I say we change that to “Love every day like it was your last.” I have been in a few discussions lately that centered around books written that chronicle near death experiences. A common aspect of these experiences is that the person realizes the only thing that really matters in life is love. How often we feel overwhelmed by God’s love or the love of family or friends which fills us with a sense of well-being and peace, only to be quickly thwarted by the realities of life. How can we make those love-ly moments more permanent? Become more aware of what steals our peace and call on God’s grace to fight it.
Surrender an area of your life that is very difficult to do. Give over the worry and anxiety to God, maybe just for a minute, then work your way to an hour, a day, a week. Baby steps. Trust that there is someone greater than you who can and will take care of whatever it is that uses up so much of your brain space and energy. Imagine how much freer you will feel.
Start each day full of gratitude. The pressures and busyness of our daily routines easily give way to feelings that are far from grateful. If we start the day with our gratitude banks full, at least we have a better chance of having some left over at day’s end.
Just as our New Year’s resolutions fade with time, these Advent resolutions can do the same if we let them. Advent is only four weeks though. It has a beginning and an end. Maybe it’s more doable. They say it takes twenty-one days for a new action to become a habit. Imagine if we can stick to these resolutions this Advent. Imagine if gratitude, surrender, and love became a habit, something we do without even thinking.
What a beautiful place our hearts would be.