Here in Chile, New Year’s Eve is a huge tradition involving a whopping dinner, often including a not-so-big-but-very-expensive turkey, yummy salads, duchess potatoes, and a special dessert. All at the stroke of midnight.
In some homes, since it’s summer, the cuisine is a generous, barbecued meal. You can count on choripanes (grilled sausages on crunchy marraqueta which is similar to french bread), topped with mayo and salsa. That’s just the appetizer. After that, you can count on beef, pork, and chicken, with sides of potato salad, ensalada Chilena (tomatoes and feathered onion), and an array of other dishes. Makes my jaws squirt just to think about it!
If you’re not at home doing that, then you might be at the beach with a multitude of others, vying for a spot on the sand to witness the spectacular fireworks display. Steve and I just spend a quiet evening in our recliners talking. Mostly about the year that is ending and our aspirations for the coming one. It sounds boring, but it is anything but. I’ve tried the other route. I prefer this one.
It’s possible that more than most years, I am thinking about the next 365 days and the changes that could come. 2016 was not easy. No, it was hard. Maybe you can relate.
I’ve also been pondering the whole New Year mindset and have come to the conclusion it’s kind of weird, because when it comes down to it, what really changes between December 31 and January 1? It’s just. . . the next day. But for many, it means a fresh start, a turning of the page, wiping the slate clean, putting behind the old and welcoming in the new. In our minds, we give ourselves another chance, and even prepare for it with a list of possibilities and and/or resolutions.
So, what is the foundation of these resolutions we often make? I guarantee it’s deeper than the ten or fifty pounds we want to lose or finally writing that novel rambling around in our head or the new business we’re going to start. But often we don’t realize what that foundation is.
Each of us has a common thread that directs our thoughts and decisions. Maybe yours is the Golden Rule or Look Out for Number One. If you are a Jesus follower, you may have a life verse. My sister was gifted a cuff with hers engraved on it for Christmas. Very cool.
Whether we are fully aware of it or not, we do have a guiding set of values. It is an enlightening exercise to take stock of what that set of values is and determine if it stems from how we were raised, social convention, peer pressure, or intentional decision. For my purposes here, I am going to call that worldview.
Unlike our DNA or innate personality traits, we can alter our set of values and choose those by which we live. We can determine our worldview—that prism through which we observe the rest of the world and base our choices and conduct.
Having said that, I do have what you would call a life verse and want to share it—Jeremiah 9:23-24. In case you are unfamiliar with scripture, Jeremiah is the twenty-fourth book in the widely accepted Old Testament, the first and longest part of the Bible.
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the lord.”
That sends chills up my spine every time I read it. Why? Because God wants, no expects, to be known. It totally (retro alert!) Blows. My. Mind.
Unlike some imagine, God’s not a doddering, old (although he’s been around forever), grandfatherly type sitting on a throne in the heavens somewhere stroking his beard and waiting for us to slip up so he can hurl down a lightning bolt and obliterate us. Though he could, mind you. Nor is he a foggy, impossible-to-grasp concept conjured up in our minds.
God is a person who wants us to realize he is just that, and that on top of it, he wants to enter into a relationship with us so we can come to an understanding of who he really is. He also wants to be involved in our lives. Maybe that bugs you, but that fact gives me a whole lot of peace of mind.The most amazing part is that this relationship is for our good, not his.
Truth: He doesn’t need us. He simply wants and loves us.
For the next few blog posts, I intend to delve into the character of God. To do that, I intend to take a look at some of his attributes. Merriam-Webster defines attribute as an inherent characteristic. So, we’re talking about the stuff of God. Who he is. His essence. In human terms, what makes him tick.
Considering I am finite and flawed, my consideration in this matter will be also. But I am going to do my best to be open and forthright in my thoughts and findings. By far, this is the most exciting adventure I’ve ever been on. I hope you’ll join me and participate.
Happy, happy New Year! May 2017 be the year of amazing for you and yours.