As you continue to ponder who it is that you want to be in the new year, what kind of goals you're going to set for yourself, what kinds of things you want to change, here's an honest question for you:
If Jesus is who we've said He is over the past few weeks through Advent, what, exactly, is left for you to do for yourself?
If Jesus has come to give you new eyes to see the world, new ears to hear, a new tongue to speak...if He has come to make your chains fall off, to welcome you into once-forbidden places, to forgive you for your wrongdoing...if His coming brings you hope, peace, joy, love, and faith...if all of that is real (and it is), what are you missing that you're still hoping to add to your life?
Well, Aidan, I would like to be able to eat more cake without gaining more hips.
No, really? That's the goal? Christ has come into this world, the fulfillment of the promise of God from the very first breath of time - that God Himself will walk with you; He has healed the lame and diseased, set free the captive, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and given the Good News to all the world, and you feel like your life is missing cake?
We humans are a very silly species indeed.
God says, Behold! I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? The New Testament promises that when we strip ourselves of our earthly flesh and put on Christ, we are, in fact, a new creation, something wholly different than we ever were before. The stories of Jesus in the Gospels are stories of men and women just like us who are touched by Christ and healed, restored, redeemed. And none of this - hear me, none of it - by works.
It's all grace.
It's all the beautiful, glorious gift of God, given freely to us at a high price to Him. It's all the offering that He has prepared since the very first bite we took of the forbidden fruit. It's all meant to restore us to the incredible beings that He intended from the moment He knit us together in our mothers' wombs.
Perhaps what we need for the new year, then, is not more looking at ourselves to figure out what needs to be different, but looking at Him to embrace what already is.
There is a newborn baby crying in a manger, for Pete's sake (whoever Pete is). Immanuel. What more does your life need?
(Please don't say cake.)