Happy NEW Year

2016 Calendar2015 calendars have been tossed. My 2015 journal placed on the closet shelf. (Actually, it’s a 2013-2015 journal; I’m not very faithful in daily writing.) NPR is no longer reviewing events of the past twelve months. Ready or not, it’s time to move on.

Because the weeks leading up to Christmas were incredibly busy, and because we were out of town for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I’ve not had–I’ve not taken–much time for reflection about the coming year. That will come later this week after the house is stripped of it holiday finery and I sneak away to a solitary place. Resolutions are few and somewhat mundane: go through every scrap of paper on my desk until I find bare wood.

One word repeatedly surfaced in friendly greetings over recent days: Happy NEW Year! But I can’t make everything new. This body insists on its aging process. (In spite of vitamins, exercise and kale.) A favorite sweater is beginning to show more and more ragged edges. “Guaranteed” appliances are dangerously groaning. And my pens keep running out of ink.

Is it just for the future that God declares, “Behold (LOOK, PAY ATTENTION, SIT UP STRAIGHT!), I am making all things new”? Or is it possible to experience newness in the midst of wearing-out bodies, tired rhetoric and relationships that have lost their glitter? Can Jesus followers actually flourish when all around is crumbling into dust?

It seems so. The prophet Isaiah was privileged to quote God: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven…making it bud it flourish…so is my WORD…(it) will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

It’s not a diet and exercise plan. It’s not a closet cleaning regimen. It’s a rock solid prescription from the Creator God: his infallible, unchanging-yet-ever-new Word can drip into my body and soul to make me flourish. IF I take time to not just fulfill my read-through-the-Bible plan, but allow words and phrases–illuminated by the Holy Spirit as I slowly ponder–to soak into my soul, drench me with refreshment.

Maybe during every rain shower or snowfall this year, I need to make a soul check: is God’s Word accomplishing what he desires?  When I turn the last page of the 2016 calendar, I want to be budding and flourishing.





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