New Years Polar Bear Swim anyone? Sounds like a daunting way to start off the year right? There’s a huge Polar Bear swim close to my hometown, over 2,500 people jumped into 46 degree water, while it was a brisk 39 degrees outside. Crazy right? But participants say, “It washes away all last year’s issues. You think about all the negative things, and you just go in clean and start fresh for a New Year.”
So it’s a thing – people want a fresh start in the New Year and we have hopes of better, happier, healthier lives. It’s a good and natural thing to desire, right? We are wanting to be better people, let go of bad habits, and wanting a better life – whatever that looks like for you. But it’s no secret -those goals we set, like working out more and living life to the fullest, are short-lived.
Maybe the root of some of these desires comes from dissatisfaction with the world the way it currently is. Romans 8 says we, along with all of creation, are waiting, longing for more, for a world that is void of the brokenness and disillusions we see around us. And maybe the failures to keep resolutions are because we just can’t fully make things better, happier, and sufficiently beautiful on our own.
Joy and Thanksgiving are my two words for 2016. These attributes did not define me last year. This past year I’ve let things weigh me down, frustrate me, and just get to me more. Confession – this has taken my eyes off of Jesus and what He is doing and I’ve missed out because of it. By God’s grace, with the help and sanctification of the Holy Spirit, I’m jumping into a journey of more thanks and joy.
I’m rejoicing because I don’t have to jump into frigid water! Ha! Jesus washes away all our sins by His crazy-awesome, holy and humble act of dying on the cross. His mercies are new every morning and in Him we have the redemption of sins. I’m rejoicing because health and happiness may wane this year but God sustains and upholds me. I’m thankful that I don’t have to be perfect and meet all the expectations I or others set. God’s sanctification and help of the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more like Jesus. I’m thankful because God is coming back to make all things new! We don’t know when but I’m choosing joy that one day God will dwell among us and we will be His people and God himself will be among us.