Before You Make That New Year/New You List…

bucket_listIts time to sharpen that pencil, pull out that pad of paper, and write down the things you hope to accomplish this next year.  But before you do, take a minute and consider a few things.

I’ve made my share of lists.  I’ve won some, I’ve lost some.  Let’s be clear: I’m not a list hater, I’m not a resolution hater, and I’m not a goal hater.  Just hear me out.

I’ve noticed something that happens around this time of year as people are making their lists.  And it happens quietly.

We think that the ultimate goal is a “better you”.

We think that the natural result of completing a good list is a better life.

We make the center of the list “me”.  A “successful” me.  A “thinner” me.  A “less-stressed” me.  A “happier” me.  A “creative” me.  A “financially secure” me.  A “peaceful” me.  A “friendlier” me.  A “more charitable” me.

Meanwhile, that irritating guy named John said in John 3:30: “…less me.”

I submit to you that you can make a fantastic list of wonderful, worthy things to accomplish this coming year and you very well may achieve them all.  But if “me” is at the center and “me” is the highest goal, you’re going to find that the goal of a “better me” isn’t enough.

So as I make my list I’m definitely wanting to be healthier. I’m definitely wanting to be more successful.  I absolutely have goals that I’d love to see accomplished this coming year.  But not with me and my ego at the center; with Jesus and His glory there.  And this is both a personal decision and an ongoing, daily battle.  It is in the minutia of each hour that I tend to seek more me, and that automatically equals less Him.  So don’t think I’m pounding out a quick blog and thinking I’ve done anything.  I’ll click the “Publish” button, stand up, and get to doing what I’ve briefly expressed here.  Some of you will see me living.  At moments I’ll be less and at other moments I’ll be more.  But underneath it all I want less “me”.

Go ahead and make your list.  Write it down, pin it up, and live it out.  But do it for something–Someone–greater than “me”.

O Holy Night

sweaterFor weeks now we’ve been swimming in a sea of Christmas music, both spiritual and downright not spiritual.  And while I do my best “O Holy Night” duets with Josh Groban while riding in my car alone, I’ve got to say that I’ve been brought by it all to a stark reminder of what this is all about.

With a chill in the night air and an out-of-options housing situation a young woman and her new husband welcomed into the world the Son of God, sent directly from His throne in the heavenly realm–a throne He had some 9 months previously forfeited for a time in order to fulfill the greatest rescue mission of all eternity.  This mission would rescue, ransom, and redeem the very human race that had repeatedly turned its back on Him time and time again.

What astounds me about the birth story of Jesus is the humanness of it all wrapped in the unmistakable deity of Who He was.  Not long after His birth, kings bowed before Him offering Him gifts of adoration, kingship, and confession of His identity.  A maniacal earthly king who had himself been called “the king of the Jews” found this little child such a threat to his throne that he had an entire population of young boys exterminated in hopes of wiping the boy Jesus from the earth, from history, and from any plans of an overthrow of Herod’s throne.  Little did Herod know that Jesus never came to establish a throne on earth, but came to reveal His already established throne in heaven.  

Mary was pure, Joseph was honest, shepherds were willing, and kings were bowing.  All in recognition of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, the One who has come to redeem me from myself and from an eternity apart from Him.  Not because of my own worth or merit, but because of His great love.  This is the greatest mystery, the greatest conspiracy, the greatest rescue mission the world will ever know.