Christmas is over, we’ve just celebrated the birth of Jesus and now we are entering the New Year.
The New Year has long been seen as the opportunity for change - a time for new beginnings, to take stock of life, a time to look back and reflect on the past year and re-evaluate.
It is a time to make choices - whether to stop smoking, stop putting on weight, stop drinking, stop spending so much money, stop spending so much time at work... the list could be endless.
Notice that I deliberately used the word ‘stop’ when I could easily have used different words or phrases to convey the same message.
‘Stop’ is a negative word and negativity can breed more negativity.
I once said to a friend, who has a bad memory when it comes to returning books that he has borrowed: “Don’t forget to bring back the book you borrowed because I need to use it”.
He replied: “You would do better to say, can you remember to bring back the book?”
Because, as he reminded me, we respond better to the positive than to the negative.
In other words, we perhaps ought to embrace the half full glass of water concept than the half empty.
Just as negativity can breed negativity, so can positive thoughts and actions breed positivity, and can also breed hope. The New Year is a time to look forward with anticipation and with hope.
I often find myself in the privileged position of spending time with people who are seriously ill, as well as those who are dying, and their families.
Throughout the time of illness, invariably people cling onto ‘hope’.
They hope that the small change, the slight improvement will be the start of a major transformation; they hope that the trial drug will be a great medical breakthrough and will completely heal them, and they hope for a miracle.
That’s fine because it breeds a positive attitude of mind and as we know, it can have a dramatic effect on people.
If things don’t improve, and for the terminally ill the inevitability of death draws even closer, then a whole range of different feelings and emotions can come into play - fear or relief for example, but perhaps the greatest of all, is once again hope; the hope that He will allow us to have eternal life in His heavenly Kingdom.
It was that hope that was given to all of us on Christmas day 2000 years ago when Christ was born.
It was ‘cemented in’ 32 years later when he died on the cross for us, because that was and still is the will of God, to offer us the hope of eternal life.