As we all breathe a sigh of relief to see 2020 go, I want to wish you a Happy New Year, bloggy friends!! On this first day of 2021, I find myself recovering from Covid-19, so I decided to loan my web space to Shannon Pugh. Although she doesn’t call herself a writer, she uses words beautifully and faithfully in a monthly newsletter. She and her ministry team mean so much to my family, and I couldn’t wait to share her thoughts on the turning of the calendar with you:
I’m not an anthropology buff. To be honest, I had to look up the word “anthropology” to make sure it actually means what I thought it meant (the study of human societies and cultures). But from what I do know about the history of humanity across the ages, every culture has developed some sort of system for marking the passage of time. Our current system of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, etc. is apparently called the “Gregorian calendar”… I learned something new today! Thanks Wikipedia! At IBC [Irving Bible Church], we observe Advent and Lent, which are part of the Liturgical year that many denominations of Christianity follow.
Not only do we use these systems to mark the passage of time, but we also use them to give meaning to the passage of time. We assign importance to specific dates like birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of important events and even seasons. Again, this is across cultures and over the course of human history. Time is important!
And I think that’s because we know, deep down, that our lives have a purpose. It’s not just about surviving as long as possible and then dying as painlessly as possible. It’s about making daily choices to better the world around us in some way. For me, it’s about making life on earth as much like heaven as it can possibly be. May Your kingdom come, Lord, may Your will and work be done on earth, as it already is in heaven.
There’s nothing magical about January 1st — really, it’s just the day after December 31st (and both of those are just words and numbers that help us mark the passing of time). However, those days have had special importance for hundreds and hundreds of years. Because, although nothing actually changes when the clock turns to 12:00 on January 1st, it’s an opportunity for us to realign our priorities and renew our commitment to make the world around us a better place, one moment at a time.
I, for one, don’t want life to just float by and slip through my hands. But that requires me to be intentional about how I act and react on a daily basis… not just the big events, but the little decisions I make moment-by-moment. So each year I take some time in December and January to look back and look forward. I use a tool that was given to me by a mentor years ago, and I can’t overstate how much it’s changed the way I approach each new year. That tiny, seemingly insignificant difference between 11:59pm on December 31st and 12:00am on January 1st has become a chance for me to try to end each year having done my best to made the world a better place in even just the tiniest way.
If you would like to join me in looking back and looking forward, you can find the questions I use here. Nothing will magically change on January 1, 2021 (as much as we would like it to!) The only thing we have control over is the way we approach each minute, hour, day, week, and month. When we choose to do that with the goal of improving the world around us, it really truly does make a difference!
Shannon Pugh taught special education for 9 years before leading the special needs ministry at Irving Bible Church in the Dallas, Texas area. She has held that role since 2012 – first as a volunteer, then part-time staff and now full-time.
And now for this week’s featured post!
All of my co-hosts on this link up are excellent writers, but I try not to feature them here (although I hope you visit each of their sites regularly). Sometimes, though, their words are too good not to share with you. Heather Hart of candidlychristian.com wrote about the most important part of the Christmas season (really any season) in How to Pray for the Unsaved at Christmas. Praying for and sharing the love of Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him lends others the hope we feel during Advent. And I think everyone could use this kind of hope. Always, and especially right now.
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