Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33: 3

Let me start this off by wishing all of Happy Akitu! If you are not familiar with this one, you are not alone. First off, it is not one of the new holidays that reflect various cultural influences that we have been adding to calendars over the past few years. Actually, it is much older than all of the holidays that we typically do celebrate. Akitu is the Babylonian New Year’s celebration from over 4,000 years ago. It was held in the equivalent of our March, on the Spring Equinox, and it did involve the making of promises in the form of resolutions. It would seem that we people have a very long history of seeing a need for change in our lives and for pledging or committing to do something about accomplishing the change. However, I would guess that the Babylonians were, in fact, not much better than us in actually keeping their resolutions.

So, here is a suggestion for a very simple resolution. Whatever it is that is of concern; whether it is health, finances, family, relationships, the job, or any of the many things that tend to land on New Year’s lists; lay it out before God. A natural response for some things might be to say that God can’t possibly be concerned about something as trivial as my – whatever it is. This thinking misses the essential nature of who God is and of how He interacts with us. With great deliberation and purpose God put Himself into our lives. Christ did not need to come into our world, live with us, and be sacrificed for the sake of God’s position, authority, or rule. He did all of this, and the Holy Spirit remains with us for our sakes. It seems to me that God came into our world and into my life in order to bring about a form of transformative change in us that is profoundly deep and effects us from our foundations. That means, among other things, that God cares about everything that we do.

Thus, my suggestion is that instead of creating lists of desired outcomes and commitments to work toward them, the quality of life in our new year would be better impacted by entering into a spiritual quest with God. We can set out our desires and concerns before God, allow Him to reveal to us His perspective on who we are and on what He is calling us to do. Follow that process of revealing by searching God’s Word for passages that relate to the issues at hand; then, pray about it regularly and take the time to listen to how God responds. Additionally, it is always good to find a partner for this journey who will, in turn, allow you into their quest. The New Year is a great time to enter into this process of surrendering our most basic wants, needs, and desires to God. This is a wonderful occasion to begin to sing that new song of praise, grief, repentance, and rejoicing. We can shout it all out with voices bold or still and know that our God will listen and respond.