Making Much of the New Year

I love New Year’s Eve and all that comes with the day and the days after. There is a lot of excitement about leaving behind bad experiences and memories from the current year and looking forward to what’s next. The New Year is also accompanied by thousands of resolutions on what to improve on or how to live this next year in a way that will make life better. I like the New Year because it represents a new start. It is a reminder that things can change and we can always improve.

I believe that we have been created with the desire for new starts, new opportunities, and the ability to change and grow from the way things have been. We have been created with the desire of all things being new. From the very beginning of the story of God, everything was made perfect. Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with each other and with creation. They were living in the way the world was meant to be. However, sin has broken the peace, and our hearts know it. We long for the day that all things will be made new. We long for the day when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14)”. I believe that God has put the desire to grow and change in our hearts.  Because of this, every Christian should take action and reflect on what God has done in and through his or her life this year. Over the past few days, my wife and I have done two things: prayerfully reflect and plan. Below I want to share a little bit about what this has looked like for us.

First, over the past few days, we have taken time to reflect on this past year. We reflect by asking questions that help us to look over the many experiences of our year, the good and the bad. Reflection allows us to remember the good and the bad and praise God for both. It helps us to think deeply about our year and leads us to hopeful change. As Christians, we reflect because we are constantly looking to Christ as the one who changes us.  We look to Him on how to live and we seek to walk in His ways so that the world will see and know how good and amazing He is because of our lives. Our reflection is vital for us to change.

The second thing we have done is to make a plan based on our reflection. Based on this past year, in what ways can we continued to make much of Christ in our lives? What steps am I going to take to take my reflections from 2018 and put them to practice in 2019? What is my theme for this year and what steps will I take weekly to live this out?  Our hope is that we don’t move forward without reflecting on this past year. We believe that we will be greater ambassadors of Christ as we make intentional efforts to live out our calling as disciples of Jesus. As we move into 2019, how can we all make much of Jesus in our lives?

*Below are some questions that we used to help us reflect and think about 2019. These questions have come from

  • What were the lowlights and hard things last year?
  • What were the highlights and clear blessings last year?
  • What did we see God doing last year (in personal life, family, work, community, church, etc.)? 
  • What is God doing in our lives right now? What do we see as our purpose? Why are you where you are and doing what you’re doing? 
  • What is unresolved from last year? What pains, struggles, and doubts do we carry into this year? 
  • What hopes and dreams do we carry into this new year? 
  • What do we hope to see happen this next year? 
  • What things do we pray for God to do within us this next year? 
  • What are our fears with this next year? 
  • How do you hope and pray to be transformed this next year?

-Daniel McDonald, GEM Missionary 
If you’d like to support Daniel and his wife, Kristen as they serve with GEM in Mexico, you can do so HERE. You can also contact them directly to talk further about what it means to be on their support-team and find out how you can be praying for them!