Happy New Year

By Dan Spray

Community of Christ Church

?To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.? Ecles.3:1

Today, March 20, is the first day of spring. We got a glimpse of how delightful a spring day can be when the temperature hit 80 degrees this past Monday. How quickly we forget the dark, dreary and cold winter season and start to focus on the season of optimism and hope.

As new life begins to spring up around us, a sense of renewal captures our hearts and our lives. Is it not appropriate that this remarkable event takes place in the middle of the Lenten Season?

Following the model of Jesus, who went in to the desert alone to pray for 40 days, we are invited to spend the 40 days of Lent in prayerful reflection. Lent can be a powerful time of spiritual renewal ? a time to pause, to explore and to be more focused and intentional in our communication with God.

As we reflect, we may discover parts of our lives ? attitudes, habits or patterns ? we may wish to change or let go. We may discover other parts of our lives we have been neglecting and wish to nurture and develop.

These desired changes are much more likely to occur with the arrival of spring, then in the dead of winter. I?m suggesting that if we draw parallels between our Lenten resolve and New Year?s resolutions, now is a far better time to start a ?new year? than January 1.

The days lengthen and warm, the grass is starting to green, trees and flowers are starting to bloom, fields are being prepared for the upcoming planting season and new life is breaking our all over. What a great time to make a fresh start by using the sense of freshness all around us to renew and improve ourselves.

Maybe a little ?spring cleaning? would be in order. Perhaps we need to:

Eliminate Clutter: Get rid of distractions that are interfering with improving our relationships with God and others.

Scrub Away the Dirt: Harboring bitterness towards people who have hurt us, being infected with anger, fear, or selfishness.

Vacuum: Suck up the everyday annoyances and resentments that put a real strain on us when we let them accumulate. Be willing to forgive and reconcile, doing all we can to live at peace with others.

Polish: Build relationships by blessing others through our word and actions. Look for opportunities to encourage or help the people with whom you come in contact with. Be willing to commit to long-term service (through organizations or projects) when you sense God calling you to do so.

Let?s use the springtime motivation to assist in making new goals and improving ourselves. We have the renewal of spring and the Easter season. Just as Good Friday passes to Easter and beyond, we live a life reflected in the new life springing up around us. The Easter holiday reminds us of Christ on the cross, His death and glorious resurrection. That should provide powerful motivation to refresh ourselves spiritually.

Let?s use this springtime to make a clean break from failed New Year?s resolutions and let the joy of the season motivate us to improve ourselves with a newness of life.