Happy New Year! Let's allow God to lead us in 2022

KEN ANSELL

Happy New Year!  Besides any hot summer day, this is my favorite time of the year.  I love that we throw away the old calendar that is on the side of the refrigerator and replace it with something new and fresh. The Apostle Paul said, “… one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on … (Philippians 3:13 & 14)”. Let me encourage you to do that — forget last year and move into the new year like a boss!

Ken Ansell

I’m starting a campaign to skip Christmas next year. I thought I would become like the Grinch and steal Christmas in 2022, but then the Blonde reminded me that he was converted by Cindy-Lou Who - what a sell out. Scrooge sold out as well, wow!  Am I the last one who is not fond of the holiday?

My problem is not Jesus, I love that guy. It's just too confusing and built on a weak foundation. Besides that, it is steeped in paganism. Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. We have created too many tall tales around not only the birth of Christ but also the secular side of the holiday. Since when is it ever good for parents to lie to their kids (we lied to our kids too — I’m sorry Miller, Brooke, Jack & Klaire) — and the music we sing at church during this season is for the most part theologically bad. We are not instructed by God to celebrate the birth of Christ, so we are not breaking any divine rules if we stop, and for those that like to say, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” I'm pretty sure they are the same ones hanging Krispy Kreme snow globe ornaments on their trees. That sounds like a contradiction to me. It’s pretty tough to accomplish the mission of keeping Christ in Christmas when most people dodge any kind of corporate worship (wait until next year when Christmas Day falls on a Sunday)  — am I making sense? What I’m saying is, Jesus gets lost in the clutter of “Christmas.”      

I’m sorry for the rant. I’m sure I will confess and repent by next year, and if I made you mad, please forgive me. Maybe I have spiritual ADD, but I have a hard enough time keeping the main thing the main thing without complicating it. So, I’m pressing the reset button and moving on into the New Year where I can forget the past (Christmas, ha) and I’m thinking about how I can take all of my energy and go next level in my faith so that one day I am “presented” to “Christ” as “mature” - according to Colossians 1:28 this is the goal. Eugene Peterson paraphrased this idea when he wrote, “To be mature is to be basic.” This is what the Apostle Paul said he “toiled” for and “struggled” with all of his “energy,” the “great strength” that “Christ” had given him.

I’m a goal setter, and I like New Year’s resolutions. I am resolved to the same mission that God gave Paul, and you should be, too. I want to leave it all on the field for Christ, but it doesn’t just happen. We have to make evaluations, set goals, develop plans, be intentional, work hard as Paul mentions and measure our progress regularly. It’s easy to travel the ruts, it’s easy to play kick the can, it’s easy to hope the 1950’s come back around. In Isaiah 43:19, God says, “I am doing something new.” And He tells His people that they should “grow like a new plant.” We need to leave the wilderness of 2021 and allow God to lead us in 2022. How about it? He told me to tell you that.