|Be-Attitudes for the New Year
During the Christmas season, we experience a multitude of feelings: joy, elation, anxiety, sadness and even depression. We may feel any of these emotions, maybe all, as we go about fulfilling obligations during this busy, and sometimes stressful, time of year. Eventually, the parties we planned are over, the presents all unwrapped, and we sit down, take a breath and try to relax to await the beginning of the New Year. What will it bring?
I'm sure we are all hoping 2021 will be better than 2020, which brought us numerous problems. It seems pregnant with promise and brighter prospects for all. Perhaps a few of us have had the courage to get on the scale (oh dread!), or to take a good look in the mirror to see and acknowledge the effects of our overindulgences. Having eaten a few too many candy canes, cookies, or brownies, we have gained that traditional five to seven pounds that we must now work to remove.
The beginning of a new year presents us with numerous opportunities to change. It's the perfect time of year for reflection; to look back over the past twelve months to see where we've been, and to project forward to see where we would like to be by the end of 2021. While change can happen anytime, there is no better time than the present to alter a course of direction, travel down a new path, and/or aspire to accomplish an important goal.
Many of us will make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, or join a gym; maybe some will seek out new careers or academic pursuits. Self-improvement is often a good place to begin.
This year, however, I would like to encourage my readers to consider not simply removing old vices or working toward a better self-image. Rather, I'd like to suggest we consider pursuing better attitudes toward others that begin in the heart.
During the Christmas season, hearts are touched with a generous spirit of giving; toward those less fortunate and toward those we love. That affection doesn't need to end with the season; it can work in and through us all year through, if we let it.
Once a month, if only once a month, you choose someone, a family member or friend that needs encouragement, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, or perhaps a listening ear that you can provide, you can extend the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
In the list below, I've provided just a few suggestions of how we can bless and be blessed in 2021:
A smile, a kind word or deed, or a simple card that says 'I care", can lift the spirits in a way few things can.
12 My friends, watch out! Don't let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. 13Youmust encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called "today." CEV
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Those who refuse to forgive live in a type of self-imposed bondage. Speak to those who have hurt you, if possible, to release them from their trespass. Confess your trespasses against others, and ask for their forgiveness. Learn to forgive yourself when you err; don't harbor resentments.
21 Peter came up to the Lord and asked, "How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?"
22 Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! CEV
14 If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15 But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. CEV
There is no more miserable person than a miser. Real joy comes from giving; giving begins in the heart. One of the best gifts we can give others is a part of ourselves, our time and our love.
26 But people who obey God are always generous. CEV
1 John 3:17-18
17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it. CEV
A stressful society finds kindness difficult. While waiting on line at the grocery store, the bank, or to pick up our morning cup of coffee on the way to work, try to remember we all have problems, we all have needs. Kindness shows itself in courtesy and service; so, slow down and take the time to be kind.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV
People need love; God evidenced His great love toward us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. As His disciples, we must follow His example and love others freely, especially those who deserve it the least. It may be hard to do, but it is not impossible, for with Christ, all things are possible!
34 But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. 35 If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples. CEV
Finally, I'd like to remind you, as I do myself, that we sin just as deeply when we avoid doing the right or good thing as when doing the wrong thing. James, the earthly brother of the Lord, and early leader of the Christian church, wrote in his epistle that we must remember to do the right thing, even if/when it is inconvenient. It may bless someone more than you will even know this side of heaven!
"Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is sinning." James 4:17 NCV
My friends, let's make 2021 our finest year! Let's serve the Lord with gladness and singing, and each other as well.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. NKJV
MY PRAYER IS THAT GOD WILL BLESS YOU ALL IN 2021.