What if there was one more present you forget to unwrap? Just a small package that got kicked under the couch. As you get the last ornament safely placed in its package, fold up the tree skirt and get ready to drag out the vacuum - you catch a glimpse of it.
Neatly wrapped and about the size of your fist, you see it again as you suck up the last of the tiny dry needles dotting the floor. Could there be more? The thought that there's more - more than scarves and mugs and ill-fitting sweaters - perhaps something more intimate, more personal, captures your heart for a moment. It isn't that your ungrateful for the lotions and potions that fill this season, it’s just that you really could live without them. And yet here you are excited that this gift might be different.
You lay on the floor and reach way back, stretching and patting around to lay hold of it. Who would get a gift then leave it unopened?
As you read the inscription, the mystery deepens. On the tag it says For: given. Cute, you think. Then the next line From: my past. What in the world? You rip open the paper and pull off the top. Inside the box is a heart, your heart - or a likeness of it - that has a little “reset” button. Of course you reach to press it and see what happens, but then something stops you. Are you ready?
Our past defines us and informs us and, well, is us. Do i want to let go of that?
Because we are so very inseparable from our past, the idea of letting go - even letting go of the regrettable - becomes unthinkable. But isn’t that why we can’t muster the change we desire?
It’s that time of year when we make resolutions to change, but if we just drag our old self into new redoubled efforts, aren’t we bound to fail...big time? This year, I want a New Year’s Revolution. I want to really change the way I think; I want to change the way I process disappointment; I want to trust God with all my heart. Pastor Wes at First Assembly of Alexandria spoke this past Sunday on how to "reset" for the new year. He mentioned the pitfalls of failing to plan and take risks and listen to God, but then he focused on the advice Paul gives to the Philippians - in fact Paul says there is ONE THING he does, "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14
And this is where the gift comes in. The new birth of Christ is not just a reality 2,000 years ago, it is the gift of every Christmas, of every new year, of every day really. The book of Hebrews tells us: "Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the wilderness."
Again, we see this admonishment to let go of the past.
Trees lose their leaves, roses their flowers, vines their fruit. The natural world performs this reset every winter. It's not an erasing of the past, but it is a letting go to prepare for the new season of growth.
This is the gift - a new beginning. Will you join me this year in opening God's gift to us and pressing the reset button on your heart? (and I'd love to hear from you in the comments sections below).
happy NEW year!