Clusty.com lists 276 "clusters" that provide links to websites that are in one way or another related to the term "resolution"... conflict, dispute resolution, image, council, Iraq, high-resolution, screen, and human rights violations are just some examples. Interestingly enough, "New Year's" is not among the 276 clusters.
Wikipedia.com defines a "New Year's Resolution" as "a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous." The name is obviously related to the implementation of these commitments on New Year's Day.
A Google search for "New Year's Resolution" brings up more than 2.5 million hits in about the same amount of time that it takes for a major league fastball to travel from the pitcher's mound to the catcher's mitt. You will find tips and guides and facts and figures to help you stick to and even come up with resolutions for the year ahead. There's a "Top Ten" list that includes (1) spend more time with family & friends, (2) fit in fitness, (3) tame the bulge, (4) quit smoking, (5) enjoy life more, (6) quit drinking, (7) get out of debt, (8) learn something new, (9) help others, and (10) get organized. You can actually go to a government-sponsored website that lists popular New Year's Resolutions. And, no surprise here, but you can find out what famous celebrities have resolved to do this year. For example, British pop star Cheryl Cole wants to go up one clothing size because she thinks she looks too skinny... poor thing. Britney Spears wants to stop biting her nails... seriously?... seems like that's the least of her problems to me. Kim Kardashian wants to tone up more and continue to get in shape. Kanye West promises to be nicer to paparazzi, which is a very good idea considering he found himself in hot water at LAX a few months ago for shoving a camera into a photographer's face. Tom Arnold wants to adopt a child. Ty Pennington wants to stay healthy and spend more time with his family and friends. Jim Belushi wants to stop being so gullible. Anderson Cooper promises to blog every day. And Anne Hathaway is determined to keep working hard but enjoy life more.
Pretty good. Lots of good things there. Wonder how they'll do?
I must admit that I have never been very serious about making New Year's Resolutions. And the ones that I have made didn't work out so well... I typically fall off the proverbial wagon, oh, about mid-February. Nonetheless, I am resolved to do some things this New Year, 2009. (More on that later.) Having said that, it seems to me that the best thing any of us can do is resolve to live today without worrying about tomorrow or next week or next month or next summer or next fall. I think Jesus would probably agree... after all, He did tell the disciples, don't be anxious about tomorrow because tomorrow will be anxious for itself. James says the same kind of thing. Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit, yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Whoa. Evil? Strong word.
The point? My friend says it like this: "Life is a vapor." I would call that a brilliant reminder... the past 7 months have certainly reinforced this principle for Nicol and I.
Maybe, then, Resolution #1 should go something like this: Walk with Jesus today, as long as it's called today, and live today with the hope and peace and joy that only He can give me today. Today. [ ;-) ]
Oh, one more thing I just remembered. I saw a sign today (there's that word again) at some store that read, "Live in the moment." My first thought was, "That's cute but it's not very good theology." Then I reconsidered. It is good. True, we shouldn't live "for" the moment in the sense that we forego sound wisdom and God-honoring/people-honoring choices, but we have to live "in" the moment because it's the only thing we have for sure. Today.
So, what are my resolutions? Well, you just read the first one. The rest? TBD. To be determined, that is. But, you say, it's December 30, you better come up with something pretty quick. That's precisely... what I don't want to do. I'm going to follow the advice of one of my favorite people ever, Dr. Bill Thrasher. Each January, he commits the first week or so of that month to pray and really seek God for His desires and direction for the upcoming year. It's a "firstfruits" thing. Just like tithing is giving back to God what has been given to us, he spends the first part of the year giving back to God in terms praying and listening and seeking and worshiping and discovering where God is leading him and his family.
I've never approached the New Year like that. So I'm gonna give it a try. And I will definitely let you know what happens.
Now, happy New Year and...
May God be gracious to you and bless you
and make His face to shine upon you,
that His way may be known on earth,
His saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
let all the peoples praise You!
--adapted from Psalm 67:1-3