And so it is that the calendar has (finally!) flipped and we have begun a brand new year. Last year, 2019—with its mix of joys and sorrows, goals met and goals missed, friendships gained and friendships lost—is behind us.
For many, New Year’s is just another holiday. For others, it’s a time of deep reflection, both on the past year and on the one ahead. For followers of Jesus, New Year’s has no unique significance. There’s no central biblical narrative informing our celebrations.
But this doesn’t mean Christians shouldn’t pause and reflect on the turning of the calendar. Moses asked of the Lord, “Teach us to number our days, so we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). Time—seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years—is a gift to us from a good God. To wisely follow him, then, is to redeem our time (Eph. 5:16).
New Year’s can also remind us of the new birth. In a sense, each day with Jesus is a chance to turn the page on an old way of life and embrace a new one. We are, after all, new creation people, and we serve a King who renews us daily by the Holy Spirit.
Setting goals for a new year are an important sign that we’re intentional about glorifying God in our callings—work and business, home and church, private and public witness. When we work and plan, even in seemingly insignificant endeavors, we’re fulfilling the cultural mandate (Gen. 1:28). In this age, we’re blessed with an abundance of resources to help us to maximize our time: digital tools, productivity experts, and inspirational blogs.
But before we write out our goals, we should begin in the heart. The temptation for Christians is to make our plans and add a dollop of Jesus on top, rather than allowing him to form in us the desires and motivations to do his work.