We stand at the edge of the boundary between 2015 and 2016. Some countries have already entered 2016, and some are still waiting for it to “arrive.” All the same, we stand at the end and the beginning all at once. As 2015 winds down, it is often the practice of many to reflect on the lessons and blessings of the closing year. Peaks and valleys that have taught us about life, about ourselves, and about the people in our lives. For me, it is so appropriate that the celebration of Kwanzaa ushers in the new year, helping those who celebrate to remember what is necessary for a community to thrive and be successful. These same principles operate in the faith community, along with various ethnic groups who do all they can to preserve the legacies and foundational history that makes them unique.
For me, Kwanzaa reminds me that we are all responsible to and for one another, as members of the human race and as members of the Body of Christ. Seven principles are presented over a week’s time that remind us that we are all connected, and that everything we do, big or small, has a direct or indirect effect on the members within our community. Unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith all work together in each one of us, and then work together on a larger scale to make a community successful and connected deeply.
As we approach 2016, I pray that we consider how we can implement each of these foundational principles into our lives in such a way that they enhance the way we impact the communities to which we belong, be they physical communities, faith communities, or communities of common interest and investment. Let them spread to your inner circles of family and friends. Consider how these principles manifest in your life, and what you are doing to either contribute positive or negative energy in each of these areas.
Society wants you to fall into the trap of New Year’s Resolutions, that many make and few keep. A new year could be the beginning of a new season in your life, or the continuation of a current season. Whatever the case may be, I pray that you do more than simply resolve to do something different. I pray that you decide as a part of the journey of life to be and do better – be a better family member, a better friend, a better staff member/co-worker, a better human being. I pray that, as we embark on another year, that we don’t simply stumble into the next year, but we approach the new year with a renewed sense of belonging and responsibility for self that inspires us to dig deeper, shine brighter, love better, and live more aware that everything that we do affects someone or something else. Resolve the things that hinder your ability to contribute well to your community, and understand that doing that work is the first step in contributing. A whole you is the most important thing that you can give to your community, because anything you give will not be tainted with situations and emotions that have not be processed and put in their proper perspective. So, as we enter into another year, enter with the intention of being both an intentional Christ follower and a responsible human being. We have been given the ability and the capacity to do both and have them work in tandem.
From my heart and soul, have a blessed New Year and may 2016 be full of joy and light! Be open to the lessons and be grateful for each and every gift. Stay humble and honest in all that you say and do. And, above all, be authentic. It will be more well-received and respected than your best attempts at perfection.
Love and blessings in the new year!
[Philippians 3:12-14 ESV]
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.