In a way it always feels a bit strange that just because we change from one month to another that all of a sudden people feel this urge to make resolutions for their lives. It's not a bad thing, it's actually really good to slow down once in a while and think about how life is going and what values shape us, and what we kinds of things we should focus on.
Just before Christmas, our family lost a dear member and we travelled from different corners of this country to be with my brother and his family. All of a sudden all our Christmas and party plans meant nothing, family does, and so we worked out our budgets and we all came together. It was a time of tears, but also of love and laughter. We told stories, looked at pictures, and shared precious memories. It drew us all closer together. It reminded us of who we are.
Extended family made the effort to come and those unable to make it made a point to connect in lots of different ways. It reminded us that we belong to a much larger family, one that we can draw comfort and hope from. It doesn't take away the hurt of losing someone you love, but it reminds us that we are loved and supported and that when we find it too hard to carry on, we have people and family who will help carry us for a while. As one cousin said about my brother, "He always comes to our family events and is there to support us during the hard times. When we heard the news, there was no decision to make, we knew we were coming to support him."
This is where we find strength, comfort, peace and hope, knowing that we belong to something much bigger than just ourselves. Leading the funeral, I was also reminded that this is why faith and a church family is important, it reminds us that, "We are not our own, we belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Saviour Jesus Christ." Jesus told us that he would never leave us alone, that he was sending his Spirit, but we are also never alone because he puts people who genuinely care for us into our lives during the difficult times.
So my resolution this year is to try and be there for the people in my life to offer hope and friendship and love, remembering they're what's really important in life because they're important to Jesus. So what's your New Year's resolution?