Growing up, I was never a big fan of New Year’s.
As a kid, I would stay up late with my parents and eat junk food and watch movies until 11:55 pm, when we’d tune in to Dick Clark counting down to midnight in Times Square.
As I got older, I would hang out with friends and maybe go to an event, but I really never cared much about the holiday.
There was always an unspoken pressure to do something unique and fun on New Year’s Eve, which I just wasn’t overly interested in.
As well, I thought that any New Year’s resolutions were silly and unnecessary, as I could just make a resolution at any time of year, if I felt inclined to change something about my life.
For that matter, the turning over of a calendar year is a fairly arbitrary thing to celebrate. It’s not really a whole “new year”—it’s just one day later than December 31, and in that sense, January 1 tends to feel awfully similar to December 31. Nothing actually changes any more than any other changes that happen day-to-day.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate New Year’s more. I still don’t care about parties or big celebrations, and I’m more likely to start snoring on the couch by 10:30 pm than watch the ball drop.
But I have grown to value what have become the two most important parts of the holiday for me:
1) Reflecting thoughtfully upon the past year; and 2) anticipating with hope the year to come.
As I reflect on the passing year, here are some questions that I like to consider:
Where did I see the blessing and goodness of God this year?
When did I love my neighbour well?
When did I influence someone towards Christ?
How am I a different man than I was a year ago?
Where did I see prayers answered?
Where did I fall short of where I would like to be? (an important question, even if less positive than the others!)
Where was God at work, even if I didn’t see it at the time?
On the flip side of this exercise is to look ahead to the coming year. We have no idea what is in store for us. But even with our limited understanding, it is a natural time to cast our eyes forward, and to seek the Lord as we pray and reflect on questions such as these:
Where would I like my walk with Christ to deepen this year? In Bible study, prayer, worship, service, sharing Jesus, generosity, etc?
How do I want to see God work in my family?
Who in my life is ready to hear about Jesus? Or ready to be invited to church? Or ready to be given a book to read? Or whatever the case may be as I seek to introduce them to the Lord?
Where will Scripture fit into my life in the coming year, that I might engage with it in a helpful and life-giving way?
Where will I meet with the Lord this coming year? What shall I do to make this a priority?
Where will I love and serve others in the year to come?
What would I like to see Jesus do in my life in 2024?
What practical steps can I take to move in the direction I want to go?
These two lists of questions are far from exclusive, and some questions may strike your interest more than others.
The point is not to have a strict format to follow in this exercise, but to take time to pause, to reflect, to ponder, and to pray.
Where has God brought me this past year? And where might He bring me in the year to come?
And as we ponder such things, let it be in an attitude of humility, thankfulness, and worshipful reverence, as we gratefully notice His work this past year, and as we anticipate with hope where He will be at work in the year to come.
On behalf of Impactus, Happy New Year to men everywhere! God bless you, and God bless your families.
May 2024 be a year in which you are equipped for a life of purpose and godly impact, and may you increasingly become, grow, and live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all this year (1 Corinthians 13.14)!