Hello Beloved Friends,
Happy New Year! A new year, a new you. I’ve heard this slogan to sell anything from gym memberships to magazine subscriptions. January is chalk full of ideas to creating a “better you.” We are told that January 1st is the perfect opportunity to minimize our old self and maximize our new self. Below you will find a list of the top 2018 New Year Resolutions:
- Eat better — 37 percent
- Exercise more — 37 percent
- Spend less money — 37 percent
- Self-care (e.g. getting more sleep) — 24 percent
- Read more books —18 percent
- Learn a new skill — 15 percent
- Get a new job — 14 percent
- Make new friends — 13 percent
- New hobby — 13 percent
- Focus more on appearance — 12 percent
- Focus on relationship — 12 percent
- Cut down on cigarettes/alcohol — 9 percent
- Go on more dates — 7 percent
- Focus less on appearance — 3 percent
I don’t mean to bash on New Year’s Resolutions. I think it is great that we intentionally set goals to become healthier individuals. Who wouldn’t benefit from eating better, exercising more, and spending less money?
What I wonder about is the why. Why are we setting these resolutions? Are we seeking something? A better body? A plush bank account? Acceptance from our peers? Will these resolutions (pending we keep them) really bring us contentment, happiness, peace, love?
It seems to me that we are ingrained to think that love is always contingent on something; behavior, achievement, appearance. So rarely do we believe we are loved for just being.
I think that is why I love Jesus’s baptism so much. Before Jesus’s public ministry begins, before he does any healing, any teaching, any advocacy, the heavens tear apart and a voice says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” It’s almost as if heaven could not contain the outpouring of love and Jesus hadn’t really done anything yet.
This is true of our own baptisms. Before we ever realize or recognize, God declares us as beloved children with whom God is well pleased. In the waters of our baptism, God claims us, loves us and names us as God’s own. And there ain’t nothing we can do about it.
I hope to see you at 8:00am, 9:00am or 10:30am!
Peace and Love,