Whether looking back at fond Christmas memories, or forward to new year’s resolutions, Annette Clowes reminds us that focussing on Jesus will always bring out the best in us


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Right now, we are still in that period where reflecting on the Christmas season just gone is a wonderful pastime. As we take the time to recall those moments, hopefully there are some happy memories for us all; reflections on good quality family time, the time we took for rest, the time we had for mindful prayer and the time we had to give thanks for our blessings - however large or small.

I have a stand out moment from Christmas Eve. Not feeling very well with the winter snuffles that beset so many of us this year, I made the difficult decision not to go to midnight mass. But then - oh joy! - my youngest son (who is 26 and not a regular churchgoer by any means) very kindly offered to walk me down to our local church in the afternoon, so I could light a candle and “do my stuff”’ as he calls it.

We can get so caught up in trying to find our New Year goal that we forget our ultimate purpose

As we approached the church, neither of us noticed the massive billboard that announced: “Live performance of the nativity - all welcome!” My son was greeted warmly at the door and handed a robe, headdress and script. A never to be repeated Christmas moment for sure.

Happy new you

But here we now are, moving swiftly into the happy new year moments. Maybe it is even the time for inventing that ‘happy new you’, equipped with a handful of those marvellous new year resolutions: eat less, move more; moan less, give more; lose two stone (of course, I’ve already ticked that one off my list).

You know the drill.

We’ve all done it. All been here before. After a few days of successfully exercising self-restraint, or glowing in a new-found love of the Pilates classes down at the village hall, the general stresses of work and daily life get the better of us once more.

To be resolute is to be faithful, loyal and firm in adherence; to be steadfast and firm in belief

These mid-January weeks are when our willpower begins to crack and perhaps - whisper it! - the chocolate stash that we vowed to stay away from gets raided. And I will admit: I am that person who, after a futile hunt for the leftover Christmas chocolate earlier this week, jumped for absolute joy when two chocolate bars dropped on my head while I was packing away the Christmas tree.

A new resolution

But why do we go to so much trouble to make new year’s resolutions - especially when we know that we’ll likely break the lot of them? And why do we place so much store by them?

You may well know that the term ‘new year’s resolution’ has its roots in the word ‘resolute’.

But what does that really mean?

To be resolute is to be purposeful or determined; but also faithful, loyal and firm in adherence; to be steadfast and firm in belief.

We can sometimes get so caught up in trying to find our new year goal, or the silver bullet that will result in us being a slimmer, happier, fitter, or more giving person, that we forget what our ultimate purpose or resolution should always be.

As Christians, we are called to love, follow, and serve our God. We are instructed to do all things for the Lord. What if, instead of focussing on self-improvement this New Year, we simply resolved to be resolute in loving God and loving one another. And that’s it.

Because the simple truth is this: when we do all things for the Lord, we are already our best selves. Now there’s a resolution I can stick with!