Over the next few days, you and many others may be making resolutions for the new year. Some of those resolutions will be about weight loss, others about financial gain; still more will concern relationships and many will be about exercise. Those who are Christians might make a commitment to “read the Bible through in a year” or “pray more often” or “finally make that trip to the Holy Land.” What’s on your list for 2014? One hint: keep your list specific, manageable, and achievable!
However, before you determine your new years resolutions, I’d like to make one suggestion…first take prayerful stock of your past year blessings. Consider the question, “In what way(s) have you seen God work in, through and around you that is especially noteworthy in 2013?”
Sitting with the gospel of John chapter 1 in my prayer chair this past weekend, I noticed a verse that jumped off the page as I read it for what must be the gazillionth time. “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16).
Looking back on the past year, I’m confident there have been countless blessings offered to us from the hand of God. The Lord has given us blessings…one after another…all from the fullness of His grace. And, all are to be received with a heart of gratitude and joy.
Blessings from God come in all shapes, forms, and sizes. They arrive in tangible and intangible ways, forming within and around us a seedbed for God’s redeeming work to be fulfilled. They arise from out of nowhere and even in the mundane of daily routines. They are as large as a blazing sunset and as small as a whisper of love. Blessings are uncountable, they measure up to much more than we could ever ask, dream or imagine. Blessings are what God delivers generously and indiscriminately and simply – all because of His loving grace.
So, unless we take the time to count our many blessings they will flee from our memories almost as quickly as they are delivered. To count our blessings on a daily basis is to live reflective lives of noticing the handiwork of God all around us. To recount them at the end of a year is to foster a heart of gratitude to Almighty God, the giver, sustainer, redeemer, and transformer of the abundant life we’re offered each new day.
Receive both the blessings and the recollection thereof…all are to be seen as gifts from the hand of a loving, grace-filled God. Then, with blessings all around us, let’s lean into a new year with clear and conscious resolve to notice God as we make commitments to deepen our affection for Him. Another year is dawning, may it be dedicated to the Lord as we continue to receive the fullness of His grace. Glory to His Name – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a blessed New Year to all!