New Year’s resolutions or not?
“It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. Have you made yours yet? Last New Year’s I made 6 resolutions and I am proud to say that I kept them all year long. I kept them in an envelope in the top drawer of my desk!” (Dan Mahan)
It’s indeed that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been very successful over the years making major annual changes and/or improvements in my life. It’s been more like “two steps forward, one step back.” In other words, I’ve found that, over time, I have made progress. But, unlike fulfilling grand resolutions, my own changes and improvements have been much more gradual with occasional (sometimes frequent!) starts and stops along the way. The other problem with New Year’s resolutions is that a whole year is a long time to stay focused on anything; even if it is something positive and good.
This got me to thinking. As Lutherans, I realized, we’re really not so much into New Year’s resolutions and big sweeping life changes at all. We’re much more realistic, I guess. Instead, we’re more about new day resolutions; that is, the kind that come about as we reclaim our baptism each and every morning. Martin Luther described this when he talked about The Sacrament of Holy Baptism in his Small Catechism:
WHAT THEN IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SUCH A BAPTISM WITH WATER?
It signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires if to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
WHERE IS THIS WRITTEN?
St. Paul says in Romans 6, “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
So, this year, I have “resolved” to not think (or worry!) so much about keeping New Year’s resolutions, and seeking to achieve significant and sweeping annual changes in my life. Rather, I’m going to focus instead on those small, cumulative changes that come about when, through our baptism, we die to sin and rise to new life with Christ – each and every day. And I’m calling these:
“New DAY resolutions.” Perhaps this is even something we can strive to do together.