Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year

Some years, I'm so ready for the New Year. A clean slate. Good riddance, and all that. Other years, I have so much to look forward to, that the New Year simply rings in promises of even better times ahead. This year, we're ten thirteen days in, the sun is shining, and I'm just now realizing, huh, it's a new year! (Even though I got used to writing 2015* on my new-hire paperwork during yet another hospital orientation this week.)

We rung 2015 in lying awake in bed, praying that the fireworks outside wouldn't wake the sleeping baby. (They did). Since then, it hasn't been off to the most auspicious start, since Ross got the flu last week, Noah got it mid-week, and now I'm sick and had to call in on the first day of my new job. Nothing like being sick to make you slow down and give you time to reflect.

2014... it was a wonderful year overall. It started off rough, when we lost my Grandma Ginny through undesirable circumstances. We struggled to prepare a home for a baby as our fixer-upper house continuously proved more than we had bargained for. But 2014 was also the year my brother got married. And the year our lives changed forever when we welcomed a sweet little baby boy into the world... the day before counter-tops got installed in our kitchen- ha!

2014 went by in the blink of an eye, and the last 6 months have been a blur of delicious, exhausting, terrifying, exhilarating newborn-ness. And here we are, somehow ten thirteen days into this new year. (And I still haven't figured out how to finish things when I start them).

The thing is, regardless of the date on the calendar, the excess of the holidays leads us to want to swing into restraint when it's all over. To hunker down and focus on something other than the dreary weather standing between us and spring. (Or maybe that's just me?)

I'm struggling to get back into a rhythm of daily devotional time, since naps are inconsistent and whatnot. But I read this today and I'm more convinced that ever that I can't put this off any longer. Getting back into the Word is simply necessary and it affects every other area of my life:

Yet I've never been more aware that spiritual formation based on the "binge and purge" cycle simply doesn't work. Our spiritual hearts need to be strengthened by the grace of the Gospel daily, all year long. We cannot afford periods of "cruise control" when we leave the banquet of your love for a buffet of comfort foods, fast foods, and junk foods. Just like the physical hearts you've given us, our spiritual heart muscles will atrophy if we don't take care of them.

So thank you for the "means of grace"-- the good gifts you've freely given us to help us grow in grade and the knowledge of Jesus. Thank you for the Bible, your written Word, through which you reveal yourself and feed us with the riches of the Gospel. Thank you for prayer, meditation, and corporate worship, by which you meet and fellowship with us. Thank you for the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, these tangible expressions of your covenant love and grace.

Father, you won't love us more of less based on our use of these good gifts. But we certainly demonstrate and deepen our love for you as we do so. By the convicting work of your Holy Spirit, let us be far more concerned about flabby, graceless hearts than bigger love handles. Because you love us, don't let us get used to being spiritually lazy. May we come to the point where we'd sooner avoid oxygen and water than the means of grace.  {from Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith}

There are a handful of other things I'd like to do in the coming months, but first things first, right?

*As an aside, I remember early in grade school when I figured out I was going to be alive to see the change in millenia... from the 1900s to the 2000s. I did the math and realized I'd turn 15 years old in 2000, and that seemed so old. GULP. Where have the last 15 years gone!?

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