How can we begin this New Year off with renewed vision in our calling and also fresh thankfulness at the providences of God over this past year? I found an article by Doug Philipps to be of great encouragement as we prepare for the New Year. He gave three important points, which I am rewriting in condensed form:
1. Chronicle God’s Providence
Ask some of the following questions as a family and record the events of this past year. I thought it would be neat to type these out and keep a notebook as each year goes by. I am going to include this in the photo album I am working on to record the pictures and events of this past year. That way we can treasure the memories we have made together. I am so quick to forget events, my memory is so poor, even at my age. Lord have mercy!
- Where did I/we travel?
- What were the titles and key texts of sermons I preached?
- What books/articles did I write?
- What significant household projects did we accomplish in 2007?
- What were the most important meetings of the year?
- What special friendships were made this year?
- Which children lost teeth, and how many?
- Who grew in physical stature, and how much did they grow?
- Who learned to read this year?
- What diet and physical exercise regimen did I maintain to honor “my temple”?
- What books did I read? Did we read as a family? Did my children read?
- What Scriptures did my family memorize?
- What loved ones died this year?
- What were the great personal/ministry/national tragedies and losses of the year?
- What were the great personal/ministry/national blessings of the year?
- What were my most significant failures/sins for the year 2007?
- What unresolved conflicts/issues am I bringing into 2008?
- What significant spiritual and practical victories did I experience?
- In what tangible ways did I communicate gratitude to those who have blessed me and invested in my life?
- What are the top ten themes of 2007 for my family?
2. Say Thank You to those who have invested in your life
He continues by encouraging us to make a list of people who have impacted to your life in the past and this year. Those who have invested, taught, encouraged, discipled you. Write a brief and meaningful letter to each of them. Incorporate your children in this as well. Ask them if there is anyone specific they wish to say thanks to. What a wonderful way to encourage those around us and to express our full appreciation for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us through others this year!
One last thought: One reason why Christians are often limited in vision, energy, and blessings is that, contrary to the Lord’s command, we are ungrateful, unforgiving, and bitter. Far too many who profess the name of Christ spend more time obsessing on those who have wronged them than rejoicing in those who have blessed them. Letters and tangible expressions of gratitude are not only pleasing to Christ, but an antidote to heart-sickness.
To read the third point and the whole article, click here.
Happy New Year!