The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings.
To pause and think of those things that have passed...
To look around at the present, the here! The right now...
And to re-set the compass of our hearts for what is to come...
Rather than a Ney Year's resolution, I much prefer to think about a new year recipe for 2018. Perhaps you can imagine Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver, in their kitchens, talking us through these next steps for a new start to a new year.
Recipe for a Happy New Year ... take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, cleanse them completely from every clinging pain; pick off all the specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past - have them fresh and clean as when they came first from the great storehouse of time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many people spoil the whole lot this way) prepare one day at a time. Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work, hope, kindness and rest (leaving out rest is like leaving out oil from the salad dressing - don't do it). Pray daily. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaped cupful of good humour.
In the psalms, we have some wonderful words to take us into another new year, a prompting to invite God into the recipe of our own lives ... 'Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.' (Psalm 34:8 a translation from The Message)
The best resolution I ever made was to become a Christian, a life-long resolution - the only resolution that I have ever managed to keep; and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the best recipe for following the God of love, who longs to be part of our present and future, not just at the beginning of each new year - but step by step, day after day.
So, for 2018, I leave us all with a prayer for peace and hope, for the year that is to come.