How are the first fourteen days of the new year going for you?
I'm still trying to process the fact that it is 2012. It seems like just yesterday we were worried about transitioning from 1999 to 2000. Obviously we, and all the computerized aspects of society, came into the 21st century with flying colors.
Now, 12 years have past. Children who just began their formal education are getting ready to graduate from high school! Where does the time go? And more important, what do we do with our days?
Many of us set goals for the new year or made resolutions, and we are either doing well and energized, trudging along and trying hard, or giving up for another year. So it is helpful to remember that each day is fresh and new, and God bestows the gift of a new day to all of us. Days filled with opportunities and choices.
Jesus taught, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16 NRSV
Here are some practical suggestions for living fully and shining brightly each day.
Make time to enjoy some of your favorite things.
Be sure to thank God for something in your life, and take time to cultivate your relationship with the one who gave you life and can give you guidance and strength.
Expect good things to be happening around you. (If you look for good things you'll find them, even in the midst of life's disasters.)
Make good things happen around you. You have no control over yesterday or tomorrow, but you do have the power to use opportunities to make today better for yourself and those around you.
Deal with the bad news and difficult situations of life so you can move them aside (even for a brief time) to make room for things you enjoy.
Don't take yourself too seriously. You won't do everything right, but if that stops you, you won't do anything. There will be accidents, and sometimes you'll even make a fool of yourself. When these things happen, I try to remember to thank God for humor and laugh at myself and occasionally even share my foibles with others.
George Bernard Shaw once said, "Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment. And I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
So put a smile on your face. Welcome every day of the year, and do your best to live fully, for indeed, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118: 24 NRSV
- Bernstine is the executive director of United Churches of Lycoming County