Counting Down the New Year
Whether you are in your teens or twilight years, celebrating New Year’s Eve can be fun. But at different stages of life, the celebrations often take various forms. For some it means partying until the wee hours of the morning and for others it means celebrating early and working the next day. Whatever type of celebration you are attending or hosting or if you are staying in for the evening, it can be a great time to reflect upon the year. Here’s a little countdown to guide your reflection time.
Ten! Take ten minutes to step back and pray every day. In the midst of your work projects, daily activities for the family or errands, it can seem daunting to step away for ten minutes. But by setting aside ten minutes every day to pray and spend time with God, it will change the outlook of your day. Start the New Year with a new devotional or worship album that can motivate you to get back into your relationship with God.
Nine! Jesus left the ninety-nine to go after the one (Luke 15:4). Take time to think about if there was ever a season where you wandered from your relationship with Christ. Thank Him for still loving you and pursuing you when your heart was far from Him. If there were people or resources that helped in your return to the Lord, take time to thank God for those as well.
Eight! Whether your church has eight attendees or eight thousand, take time this week to thank God for all of the leadership and volunteers that pastor and teach. Think back if there was a specific lesson or ministry that impacted your relationship with Christ this year. Take time to share with that pastor or ministry leader either through a note, email or in person about the impact they had on your life.
Seven! Seven is often referred to as the number of completion. Take time to thank God for the chapters in your life that you completed this year. It might be graduating from school, completing a certification program, finally getting that promotion or new job you had been praying about. It could also be a new chapter like getting engaged, married or starting a family. Take time to thank God for the previous chapter. While the new stage or chapter of life can be exciting, each stage of life has its blessings and challenges.
Six! God saw all that he made…the sixth day (Gen 1:31). Take time this week to take a walk or hike and experience God’s creation. Give yourself enough time so that you can really slow down and look at the details. From the flowers to the wings of a butterfly or the stars in the sky, God created each of those things for us to enjoy. It can even be fun to play some worship music while you go on your walk as you praise God for His creation, including you!
Five! Taking the five loaves and two fish…(Matt 14:19). Thank God for providing for all of your needs this year. We often can overlook the daily ways God provides for us including food, shelter and clothing. If you experienced a financial hardship or difficult season, take time to thank God for sustaining you through that as well.
Four! The four friends brought Jesus the paralyzed man(Mark 2). Thank God for the people in your life that have helped you through a difficult time or season. If you haven’t done so already, thank them for what that meant to you. God might also be calling you to help carry the burden of another person. Ask God to show you who that might be and how you can help.
Three! A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecc 4:12) God has given us the gift of friendship and fellowship with others. Take time and list your friends and what you are thankful about for each of them. It might be something specific they did to bless you as a friend or just a character quality that you appreciate about them. If you feel led, write them or text them a note of encouragement this week on the impact they have had on your life. Remember that we go through different seasons in life. Sometimes we are surrounded by several friends and other times it might be a loyal few.
Two! Where two or more are gathered..(Matthew 18:20). Thank God for your small group, Bible study or spiritual mentors that He has placed in your life. Reflect on the lessons that you have learned over the year by being involved in a small group. It could be something as simple as having a group of friends that you can pray with and share your faith with. If you aren’t involved in a small group Bible study, pray and ask God to help you find one. The start of the year is a great time to get involved in a small group.
One! God has given each of us one life to live. Take time to thank Him for granting you the gift of life today. Think about if there are adjustments you need to make in your life so that you are living a life true to what He has called you to. There might need to be some activities you need to step away from. Tomorrow is not promised to us. Reflect on if there are things God has challenged you to do that you need to take a step of faith in and be obedient to fulfill.