The decorations and trees are down or are soon to be within the week (unless you are liturgically hardcore or just lazy). We find ourselves in that curious wintertime after-glow (hang-over?) of the holidays.
2019 is here y’all. . .what’s your resolution?
I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. I adore coming home from Mama Mary’s Solemnity Mass and plunking down plates of pork, greens, and black-eyed peas before my loved ones, then prodding them to reveal to me all their resolutions for the upcoming year!
My people are always good for some creative resolve. . . in recent years, we’ve gotten everything from “be Daniel Craig” to “bake all my own bread” to “enumerate every glass of water I drink this year.”
The hate part of this complicated relationship comes when, usually 2 weeks later, I dump my own resolution like a middle school boyfriend.
One year, I resolved to play more games. Everyone loves games! Except me. The source of my disdain is probably best saved for a professional to unpack. In fact, once in a heroic feat of pure virtue I assented to play Settlers of Catan with my husband and some friends. I realized after playing for quite some time that this game could go on for hours. There simply wasn’t enough wine to make that an option for me. So, I got down and dirty and scorched them all just so we could get the whole thing over with.
I have a problem. I know. That resolution didn’t make it past Epiphany.
I think we Christians, though we may loathe to admit it, are particularly primed for this situation. Catholics, if you have been to Confession lately, you know exactly what I mean. “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.”
But, inevitably I fail in this resolution, too. I sin.
I tuck back into my own cocoon of self-centeredness, distraction, and excuses. I fall back into all the usual patterns—in my thoughts, words, and deeds—that I promised to avoid. I hear the evil one sneer at me. My goal was too lofty. My intentions were too imperfect. I have failed every single time before. I will fail again. I should just forget the whole plan for a reboot. Why even play this game?
But, there is another Voice. He calls me to His table and places before me Real Food and Real Drink and gives me unfathomable grace to resolve again. . .and again. Just as I delight in hearing my family and friends hope for better at the start of each year, He delights in me! He makes my hope possible.
I take all my broken promises and failures and I lay them at the foot of the Cross. I say I’m sorry (and I mean it, though imperfectly) and make another resolution. I hear Him say to me, “Your sins are absolved, go in peace.” And I do. Because for Jesus-lovers becoming new isn’t just for New Year’s.