A Michael Jackson New Year
The New Year always seems to bring so much promise. But, alas, so often it turns out to be more of the same.
I don’t expect congress to suddenly get their collective act together. I don’t expect world powers to suddenly lay down arms and agree to live in humility and peace. I don’t expect the national debt (here, or elsewhere) to suddenly be addressed wisely and effectively by clear-headed politicians committed to the public good regardless of personal cost. There’ll be another electronic gadget to revolutionize the world, which will turn out to be just another thing to buy, learn, maintain and replace.
Underneath it all, I will still be me, and you will still be you. The basic human condition does not change, even though circumstances may. So, if you are looking for a truly New Year, I think Michael Jackson had it right (well, partly right, anyway):
I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer,
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.
From “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson
He’s right in that we have to look to ourselves and not our circumstances if we really want a New Year. Ultimately, the only thing we actually have any control over is us. Even our faith teaches us that God does His work with us and through us, not to us.
We all envision life-changing and world-changing resolutions, but I think that if you want a New Year, skip the grandiose resolutions and commit to a small, daily dose of Scripture and prayer, to regular participation in worship and fellowship, and a new avenue of service to others. It won’t turn things around tomorrow, but it’s the only way back to the road we need to find.
Happy New Year!
This column originally appeared in the December 31, 2017 issue of St. John’s weekly eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a later time, click here for the current issue.