New Year’s resolutions are so frequently broken before the first month of the new year is over that many only speak of them mockingly. We ironically mention resolutions knowing that we almost no intention of committing the work needed to bring them to pass.
Because of this, we often become cynical at any attempt to make changes to our lives or establish goals for improvement.
I understand the sentiment and part of me shares it, but we should not discount every new opportunity for growth be it at the end of the year, the beginning or some place in the middle.
The changing of the calendar from one year to the next is an arbitrary thing. There is nothing magical about the moment after the clock strikes 12:00 to ring in the next annual marker of time.
However, that metaphorical turning of the page (which may be literal if you still own a paper calendar) does provide us with a moment to reflect on our past, evaluate our present and aim for our future. And that is a good gift from a good God.
C.S. Lewis explains it well using the backwards logic of a demon in The Screwtape Letters:
The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His Church a spiritual year; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same feast as before.
Nothing spiritual transpires when the ball drops in Times Square, but that does not mean nothing spiritual can transpire in your soul because of it.
God gives us the gift of the calendar to fill our need for change and consistency, to give us both comfort and adventure, the known and the unknown, the ability to make our foundations firm and still reach higher.
Use the end of the year to take stock of your spiritual life (and your physical, mental and emotional life as well). Don’t be so cynical that you miss a God-given opportunity for growth.