It’s that time of year again – the time for new year’s resolutions. They’re all over social media :
– people resolving to get fitter or lose weight
– others want to read more books this year – or write more blogs
– some folk are aiming to run something like 500 miles this year – or cycle 1000 miles this year
All good stuff! Actually, sign me up for any of the above.
But do you ever wish that the incoming new year would make new year’s resolutions?
What if 2021 Could Make Resolutions?
I wish that 2021 would make some new year’s resolutions of its own. I would actually love 2021 to say something like: Ok folks, I’m gonna do better. 2020 let himself go a bit. I know. But I’m not 2020. I’m 2021 – out with the old, in with the new – and I’m going to do better. Listen up, here are my new year’s resolutions for this year:
I am aiming for less pandemic this year. That’s number one. Cut out the pandemic.
And less refugees! I want fewer of those inhumane camps, and less folk risking their life to cross borders and seas, being exploited by evil traffickers. Cut all that out.
And I wish 2021 would go on to say: There is going to be better leadership at all levels of society. Politicians and leaders in civic and religious life who make wise and competent decisions that serve the common good, and not themselves.
And wouldn’t it be great if 2021 could promise that there would be fewer greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. What if 2021 resolved to give the issue of climate change the attention it so desperately needs? That would be a game changer! I could imagine meeting 2021 in six months time and saying, ”Wow, 2021, I hardly recognised you. You look great!”
And we could go on and on with this list of new year’s resolutions that we wish 2021 would make for us: eliminating poverty, reconciling warring factions, protecting the weak and vulnerable, etc. etc.
Wouldn’t it be great if 2021 could just do better!
If Only It Were That Easy
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Even though you might think so, when you hear how people talk about the change of year. How people were desperate to see the end of 2020 – a dreadful year. And how they thought that 2021 will somehow magically be better just because there is a ‘1’ in the date where there used to be a ‘0’.
I hate to spoil the party, but 2021 is not necessarily going to be any better or any easier than 2020. In fact, much of the evidence suggests that this year could actually be worse. Sorry to say.
But there is hope!
Of course the year 2021 cannot do better. But we can! This new year will only be ‘better’ if we do better. 2021 will only be kinder to us if we all are kinder to each other. There will be less need this year only if we all decide to share more of what we have. There will be less hurt in the world only when we learn to love our neighbour more. Governments. Politicians. Leaders. You and me. Everyone playing their small part for the common good.
And I know that this, too, is of course not easy.
Help From Above
That’s why I believe we need a helping hand. Some outside help. For me as a practising Christian (emphasis on ‘practising’ – I need all the practice I can get!) this help comes from God. And as a Methodist Christian I find the words of the annual Covenant Service (celebrated in Methodist Churches on the first Sunday of the new year) not only challenging and inspiring, but also helpful in orientating my life in a direction that God intends – to serve the common good.
So as 2021 begins I renew my covenant with God, and humbly resolve:
”I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”