December 31, 2022
by David Crawford
Creighton University - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204

1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
John 1:1-18

Celebrating Christmas home page


Making New Year's Resolutions
Why should I make any New Year's resolutions?
I never keep them. A New Beginning,
with a New Relationship with Jesus

We begin our readings with the “last hour” and end with “the beginning,” which is quite appropriate on this day when we say goodbye to one year and prepare for the next.  Just as this time of year is full of emotions and distractions, I find writing this particular reflection to be a somewhat scattered endeavor.

Part of me wants to focus solely on the Gospel reading, which is a favorite of mine.  Is there any more glorious news than that the God, Who was, is and ever shall be, came to earth for us?

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. (verse 14)

From his fullness we have all received . . . grace and truth through Jesus Christ.  (verses 16-17)

We who have accepted Christ have been given “the power to become the children of God.” (verse 12)

Another part of me is drawn to the fact that this reflection is scheduled for December 31, the last day of the calendar year.  For many of us, this is a time when we simultaneously look back, reviewing the past year and recalling old friends (perhaps while singing Auld Lang Syne), and look ahead, making resolutions for the year to come.  These thoughts can be a very self-focused, and as such can be joyful and bright – or painful and dark.  I am reminded that, whichever group we fall into, God has been present and blessing us throughout the year; and that the best ways we can resolve to improve ourselves in the upcoming year are those that allow us to serve and glorify God.

If you read this on December 31st, you know that we are smack dab in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas, halfway between the day when we focus on the Christ child’s birth and the day when we celebrate the arrival of the gift-giving Magi.  My wife grew up with a tradition that recalled the Magi’s journey by having the three figures positioned on the opposite side of the room from the Nativity set; and each day the children would move them closer until they arrived at the manger on January 6.  (Perhaps you had this tradition, too?)  That memory brought to mind a sermon I heard many years ago that encouraged using these travelers from the East as models for Christian life.  These souls, drawn to Christ, left their homes and families (and safety) to go on a journey.  I can just imagine the conversations with their spouses and parents:

Where are you going?  Not sure. 
How long will you be gone?  Don’t know.
Who are you going to see?  Someone very important. 
Who is that?  Not exactly sure. 
Why are you taking the gold?

They left not knowing exactly where they were going (although they did have a star to guide them), how long they would be gone, or what dangers they would encounter.  They committed their lives and best gifts to seeking and glorifying Christ.  None of us knows what 2023 holds for us, but I encourage each of us to resolve to commit our lives to giving our best and our all to following our Lord, to serving Him by serving others, and to glorifying God in all that we do.

Loving God, thank you for the many times you blessed us this past year.  Be especially close to those who are filled with pain, fear, want and loneliness.  May our resolutions be to follow you, to serve you by serving others, and to use our best gifts – talents, skills, and resources – to glorify you.

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