When I was growing up my parents always threw a New Year’s Eve party, but as I started my own family I realized my husband wasn’t a huge celebrator of the holiday. Having small children, it wasn’t like we stayed up super late, and we weren’t much for partying anyway. Watching the ball drop wasn’t exciting for any of us, and though the kids enjoyed the noise makers I bought last year, me, not so much. So this year I wondered what I could do different.
I mean, I wanted to do something. I like the idea of a new year, new you, but resolutions (and the tendency to break them) seem overdone to me. I want to love each day with the same vigor as January 1st, but I did want to memorialize the day that says to my heart what’s written in Isaiah.
So I came up with a little activity for the kids that I thought would be a great learning experience. I gave everyone two pieces of paper, one labeled 2017 and one 2018. On the 2017 we wrote situations that we didn’t like that year, whether it was things we did wrong or things that were done wrong to us. Anything that we considered negative. Then we burned the slips of paper in the fireplace.
I explained to the girls that much like God’s forgiveness of our sins when we sought it, the fire would burn these things away. Like the blood of Jesus, the fire could take away the past. It would be gone, and it wouldn’t be left around in 2018 for us to dwell on or be held back by.
The mistakes or transgressions against us for 2017 were gone.
On the paper labeled 2018 we wrote down things we desired for the new year. I really gave them freedom with their lists. Some of them were goals for self, but others were things they wanted to do or places they wanted to visit. Some were ways we wanted the Lord to work in us, while others were hope of fulfillment for the dreams and desires God had given us. These slips of paper were written-hope, dreams for the future, proclamations of growth and improvement. They were prayers. We spoke God’s blessing over these prayers for 2018, and we folded them up to keep in a safe place.
I told the girls that everything they wrote down may not happen that year, that God may see fit for these things to occur in 2019, or not at all. I made sure they understood that the Lord knew best, but that also He enjoyed them asking for the desires of their heart, and that He loved it when they came to Him in all things, and with a hope for all things. I also explained to my five year old why writing down “that it will rain candy” wasn’t an overall good thing to hope for. Ahh, I love children.
I love that they are so eager to hope, eager to ask, eager to seek, and quick to leave the problems of 2017 in the ashes. Perhaps this will be a new tradition for us.