I am going to exercise more in 2023. I am going to call my siblings more in 2023. I am going to pray more in 2023. I am going to watch less TV in 2023. I am going to eat better in 2023. I am going to, somehow, be different in 2023.
There is something compelling about making New Year’s resolutions. In many ways, it is, I suppose, the secular version of a call to conversion. Repent and change your life . . . on January first. And, to be autobiographical about it, somehow the pondering of a new year, the flipping of a single number in the calendar, pulls me in. It genuinely feels like a new beginning. It’s really a new year, a new time. And, there is this occasion to think about doing something different, being different.
And why not? This secular tradition is birthed, I think, by a powerful spiritual reality. This amazing world, this amazing gift we call life is infused with forgiveness, with going fresh. Every year, every morning, indeed every moment is filled with the possibility of starting new. Whatever yesterday was, whatever last year was, there is this fresh, potentially “better” reality beckoning. No, we do not simply shed the choices and experiences of the past, but nor do they rule out newness. There is a horizon beyond the present and it calls our name. Yesterday is not the norm. Tomorrow’s mysterious beckon is.
This world, created by grace, carbonated with grace, extends grace to us at every moment. “Come on,” the world whispers in our ear. As the world evolves, bewitched by God’s beckon to wholeness, so, too, we walk and breathe in an atmosphere of becoming. It is constantly tugging at us like a child on our pant leg, “let’s go. Can we go? Do you want to go? Can we go now?” And, the truth is, we are—every one of us—we’re just a walking batch of receptors for this kind of solicitation. It’s sort of like the possibility-of-the-new lights us up. The new may provoke enthusiasm or fear, excitement or dread but, make no mistake, it lights us up, it gets our attention. The new almost never provokes a shrug of the shoulders.
Come on! Come on! Come on something good! Come on something new to save me, make me whole, make me alive, renew me. Come on.
New year’s resolutions, new life possibilities, new choices, newness – they simply name us for what God made us to be. We are gluttons—we are spiritual gluttons—for life. We want to suck every last drop of life’s goodness from the milk of being. And, well, why wouldn’t we? We were made that way. It’s all we can be.