Mitra: On resolving to make resolutions
“Why start the year with a holiday?” said John, a workaholic husband, to his wife Jill, who was sprawled out on her recliner chair, flicking channels on the TV.
“What do you expect me to do — sit around and twiddle my thumbs?” replied John in zest.
“But, dear, the first day in Adam’s life was a holiday!”
“What? A holiday?
“I never thought of that before,” John replied.
Various traditions and rituals intertwine New Year celebrations.
Much before the beginning of the church, the Romans celebrated the start of the year on March 1, not Jan. 1.
It was Julius Caesar who instituted a New Year Day on Jan. 1 to honour Janus, the two-faced god who looks backward into the old year and forward to the new.
The custom of New Year resolutions began in this earliest period as the Romans made resolutions to be good to others.
When Christianity became the official religion of Rome, the Christians kept a New Year Day.
The emphasis was on fasting and prayer, aimed at living in accordance to new life in Christ.
Soon, however, the New Year celebration reverted to March 1, and the emphasis on spiritual things got swept away.
These days, too, the start of a new year continues to be a day dedicated to more godless indulgence than to meditation on God Word.
But, many also see it as a divine opportunity in the longstanding practice of making resolutions and setting aside of persons and things for God’s purposes.
Without any historical understandings, many of us still continue to take New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a God-given opportunity to reflect, pray and dedicate ourselves anew to God either at a midnight service or in private.
Here are some simple testimonies of resolutions culled over the years:
• Joseph and Natasha resolved that, in order to enrich their marriage, they will offer short prayers for each other before sleeping.
“Quite a few years ago, I heard Billy Graham testify that Ruth and he pray for each other. At that time, Natasha and I thought this was a good idea, but never practised it.
“Over the years we reflected on our relationship and decided to start the practice from this year.”
• Robert, a young man, resolved to “pray daily, learn to laugh at myself, cast my worries on the Lord and, in all my behaviour, try to show love of Christ.”
• I am sure that many can identify with the next resolution:
“I have resolved to walk briskly for 30 minutes daily to glorify God with my body and also to develop good reading habits so that I can love God with my mind.”
• If you are an involved member of your church, this resolution is worth considering:
“My church is struggling with a host of controversial issues.
“In 2013, I resolve to be a reconciler and be a part of the solution, not of the problem, as I engage in discussion with those who differ from me.”
• Here is another good resolution to think about and practice:
“My deepest longing for the new year is to know and experience the majesty and holiness of God by intentionally practicing His presence through trust and obedience.
“The foremost consideration each one must resolve to recognize is that, without God’s help, I am unable to do anything.
“Therefore I humbly pray that by His grace I will be able to keep all my resolutions.”
No one should make resolutions with an expectation of breaking them.
It is good to do a self-check and sum up how we are doing and seek God’s help in the process.
Resolutions can turn into our driving force.
Christ calls each one of us to commit to discipline and prayer in becoming conformed to His image.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, who were struggling with a host of problems.
He told them:
“We, with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
This year,, let us resolve to become persons committed to a sanctifying transformation as we bring every emotion, thought and action in line with the Word of God.
May 2013 be our transforming year.
KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and include a headshot of the author, along with a short bio on the writer. Submissions can be sent via email to email@example.com.