Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking Back, Looking Forward December 30, 2021

Growing up, New Year’s was always a fairly minor blip on my radar.

Year, 2022, Track, New Year, Calendar, Celebration

Image via Pixabay

As a kid, we would stay up with my parents and eat junk and watch movies until midnight (which we rarely made it to).

As I got older, I just never really cared much about the holiday.

There was always a seeming pressure to do something extravagant and fun on New Year’s Eve, which I just didn’t feel too interested in.

Also, I felt that New Year’s resolutions were silly, as I could make a resolution at any time of year, if I wanted to change something.

For that matter, the turning over of a calendar is fairly arbitrary – it’s not really a whole new year, it’s just one day later than December 31, and in that sense, January 1 tends to be awfully similar to December 31.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the holiday more. I still don’t care about parties or big celebrations, and goodness knows my days of staying up until midnight to watch a ball drop are long over.

But I have grown to see the value in what have come to be the two most important parts about New Year’s Eve and Day for me: reflecting thoughtfully upon the past year, and anticipating with hope the year to come.

As I reflect on the closing year, here are some questions that I like to meditate upon:

Where did I see the blessing and goodness of God? 

Where did I love my neighbour well? 

Where did I influence someone towards Christ? 

Where am I different than I was a year ago? 

Where did I see prayers answered? 

Where did I fall short of where I would like to be? (an important question, even if less positive than the others!)

Where was God at work, even if I didn’t see it at the time? 

Where was Jesus glorified through my life? 

On the flip side of New Year’s is also looking ahead to the year to come. Of course, we have no idea what is in store for us. But even with our limited understanding, it is a natural time to look ahead, and to seek the Lord as we pray and reflect on questions such as these:

Where would I like my walk with Christ to deepen this year? In bible study, prayer, worship, service, sharing Jesus, generosity, etc? 

What practical steps can I take to move in this direction? 

Who in my life is ready to hear about Jesus? Or ready to be invited to church? Or ready to be given a book to read? Or whatever the case may be? 

Where will Scripture fit into my life in the coming year, that I might engage with it in a life-giving way? 

Where do I see the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in my life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control)? (Gal 5.22-23). Where would I like to grow, and how shall I seek the Lord that this may happen? 

Where will I meet with the Lord this coming year? What shall I do to make this a priority? 

Where will I love and serve others in the year to come? 

What would I like to see Jesus do in my life in 2022? 

Both of these sets of questions are far from exclusive, and some questions may strike your fancy more than others.

The point is not to have a strict format to follow, but to take time to pause, to reflect, to meditate, to pray.

Where has God brought me? And where will He bring me?

And as we think on such things, may it be in a spirit of humility, gratitude, and reverence, as we seek to see His hand upon this past year, and anticipate with hope where He will be at work in the year to come.

Happy New Year to everyone, from Third Way Christians!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (1Co 13.14).

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