A friend sent me a video clip recently of a man riding a unicycle, in the snow, wearing a Father Christmas outfit, whilst playing the bagpipes. I sent the clip on to my brother-in-law who likes a good challenge. Just now he is considering which skill will be harder to learn; riding a unicycle or playing the pipes. It is that time of year when we all think about our New Year resolutions: gym memberships are taken out; ‘Dry January’ pledges are made; Slimming World and Weight Watchers’ numbers swell. I am finishing the year a few pounds lighter than I started it, so that is something. But if I am honest I can’t even recall what resolutions I made last year, and I sincerely hope that nobody else can either. Why do we do it? Why do we try to make ourselves better, fitter, faster, slimmer, cleverer or whatever? For some of us, and I include myself in this group, it is about health. The few pounds I have lost will
take pressure off my aging joints. Unfortunately, I need to lose more than a few pounds to make any great change. For others it may be about image or expectation. To manage some of your expectations I don’t think I will manage to fit into my kilt for Burn’s Night. Sorry to disappoint! But I think there is something far more profound and basic about our need to make resolutions at the start of a New Year. It is just like the first day back at school with a new workbook; clean pages, no mistakes, nothing crossed out. We use our neatest handwriting as we desperately try not to make a mistake, as we go out of our way to avoid smudging the writing. For a left hander, always a challenge.
We know that by the end of term our workbook will be stained, worn, full of mistakes, but just for a little while it is good to have something neat and clean. Each New Year we start afresh, full of hope for the year ahead. We
know that like every year it will be a year of highs and lows. We know that we will make mistakes, get things wrong but for a little while it is good to dream that the year ahead will see you growing and changing for the better, and perhaps it will. So this year, rather than focus on size, image or intellect, try something different. Get to know a neighbour that you have never really talked to. Try to get along with someone you struggle to like. Embrace this New Year that God has given to each of us and do something special with it. Maybe this is the year that will change your