Every year I look toward the Christmas season with joyful expectation of the wonders the holiday brings. This year it seems jingle bells came far too soon and passed entirely too quickly. Now, it is time for me to take all the lights down (think Griswold) and put all the Santas away (think ten crates), take the wreaths off the windows, and sit on the porch swing and wonder what happened to 2023.
I am always a little blue this time of year. It feels a lot like that dream vacation being anticipated forever and before you know it, you are back home with pictures and memories. However, in the midst of the house that seems so plain and the downtown streets that have lost their sparkle, hope is just waiting to be born. A new year has arrived! A new cycle of events and traditions is spinning up. The world is ripe with opportunities and the fruit of growth is calling to be harvested.
I have never been one to do new years resolutions. I am far too much of a rationalist for such. I cannot wrap my gray matter around why January 1st is a better day to start new projects and set new goals than July 1st or any other day. However, with the dropping of the ball, millions of folks look forward to leaving the past behind and inventing a brighter tomorrow. So, for the sake of conformity, I offer some opportunities we have for 2024.
START-OVERS. This is a fine time to refresh relationships. Perhaps ’23 was not the best year for you family dynamics. Why not identify what went wrong (while taking responsibility and not laying blame) and determine to change how your system operates? How about becoming a more supportive and understanding spouse? Could you strengthen ties with your kids this year – even if things have been long broken? Could you rekindle connections with your parents who are moving a bit slower and taking more time to reflect on their own failings of the past? As employees we are gifted with the opportunity every day to renew our commitment, build stronger comradery and practice more collaboration.
MAKE-OVERS. Yes, we immediately think of new sizes, new hair, new clothes, new make-up and new diets, all brought about with cardio, weights, discipline and money. I appreciate all of that and tremendously value great diet and exercise (you get three springs stuck in your heart and you will too!) However, my focus is on family dynamics. This could be the year to promote spirituality to center stage. You family mission could include prayer at meals, back to worship, gospel music, service projects, shared reading, and more.
DO-OVERS. Some of us had resolutions last year that didn’t stick. The diet was fantastic right up until you passed Braums. The exercise was wonderful and then you pulled that hammie and got out of the habit. The recommitment of devotion to the marriage was blissful and then came baseball, softball, gymnastics, dance, projects, etc., etc., etc. OK, so you didn’t get it all done last year. The books are still waiting to be read, the kids are a year older, the projects at work did not get completed and the little jeans are still hanging in the back of the closet. Kicking yourself is not doing any good. Give yourself a do-over.
PASS-OVERS. Give yourself a break! Maybe you don’t really want to be high-school size. It may be time to offer yourself some grace. BUT, what I am really talking about are things that you just don’t need. Pass-over that third glass of wine. Pass-over that toxic relationship. Pass-over that stack of “gotta-dos” that you know you are not gonna do! Pass-over your excuses. Pass-over blame.
FLY-OVERS. Take a little time to get out of the weeds and take a 30,000-foot view of your life. Take a look at the big picture. Are you headed the right direction? Are you stuck? Are you content? What changes might you need to make so that your big picture perspective is just right in 10 years?
PRAY-OVERS. Pray-over ways that your family can become closer, make more memories, build solid foundations and create hopeful futures. Pray over avenues by which you can make the world a better place. Pray-over volunteer opportunities. And, how about this: pray-over becoming a foster or adoptive family! That will make 2024 the greatest year ever!
So, this year, let us be grateful and communicate the same to those who are in our arena – even if they only enter temporarily. Let us strengthen relationships, personal, social and professional. Let us seek ways in which to brighten the lives of others. And, let us take care of our health so that we can be around longer and bless more people.
And remember……….. Christmas is coming!