“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3.
I awoke this Christmas morning to the usual sounds of the wind howling and the cat meowing. In many ways it will be just another day for us. But as I puttered around the kitchen making coffee, feeding the noisy cat, and placing a pork roast in the crock pot, I realized that “another day” is really the greatest gift of all. The world is filled with joy and sorrow this morning as families celebrate with loved ones at the table or mourn those who are not in attendance. I’ve been on the sorrow side of Christmas and I know I’m blessed to be filled with joy today. My family members may not be physically at my table, but I know they are happy and healthy and experiencing another day.
Before or after we open all our presents today I hope we pause a moment to understand that God gave us the gift of being a part of His family. He looked at the world He had created and the mess we had made of it and instead of wiping us off the face of the earth and starting over, He gave us a way to redeem ourselves. He gave us a perfect life to observe and love and pattern our lives after. He gave us salvation. He gave us hope. He gave us His most precious possession. He gave us Jesus. That’s a present we can unwrap each and every morning.
I was wondering what I would write about today. When I opened my email I had this wonderful gift from a dear friend:
Recipe for a Happy New Year
12 fresh months
20 gallons forgiveness
5 pounds hope
4 quarts resolutions
Mix months, forgiveness and hope with resolutions of your choice.
As you continuously stir, read Bible for guidance.
Add dates one by one.
Mix with constant prayer.
Sprinkle your new year with grins.
This dish is not meant to be consumed alone: share generously with friends and family.
from " Love's Little Recipes for Life" by Linda E. Shepherd
I love this because it has a depth of understanding that goes far beyond the simplicity of its words and form. At first glance it’s a gentle reminder that we should be faithful Christians and do what we’ve all been taught: live, love, and forgive. But for me it also sends the message that we must be doers of the Word, not just recipients. This isn’t a recipe to be consumed; it’s one to be created. We are creating our year by doing something each and every day to make our lives and the lives around us better. The recipe uses action words to remind us that we must mix and stir and add the ingredients of our life together in order to find fulfillment. We can’t sit around and wait for someone else to bring it to us.
And it tells us the ingredients that will give us a satisfying product. I often wonder why people go through life angry and resentful and then expect to be rewarded with joy and happiness. They don’t seem to understand the correlation between what they give to the world and what they receive in return. I’m not saying that bad things never happen to good people. We know that we are all subject to the same laws of the universe. God never said that floods and famine only visit the evil ones of the world. But how we face the day, how we perceive the life we are given, the attitude we present to others, often determines the true outcome of our experience.
I began this post with Proverbs because I usually find inspiration there. I have mentioned some things in my life that I want to change and improve upon this year and I have been seeking some guidance. There it is in a word: commit. Not just wish and hope or dream and plan, but commit, promise, entrust, and hand over to God.
I’m going to start by printing out a copy of this recipe and posting it in my kitchen so I will see it each and every day. I hope you will do the same.
My gift to you today is a prayer that you will commit to the changes that bring you joy and happiness and success in the New Year.