Is it possible to be a fan of the new year while simultaneously hating the month of January?!? In any case, this is my mindset. I’m looking forward to all the possibilities a new year can bring, but feel like the first month doesn’t quite live up to the hype. January feels like a promised vacation that under delivers. It’s comparable to going to Hawaii and waking up in downtown Honolulu only to realize you should have stayed on the beach, because from your balcony it looks, sounds, and smells like any other metropolis. I call this condition “January Disappointment.” And believe me, I wish I could look in the mirror and just yell, “Snap out of it!!!” or “Dude, you’re in Hawaii, go get some sand between your toes!” But it doesn’t work that way. Anyone struggling with “January Disappointment” knows there are far too many reminders that the present month is nowhere close to as good as it gets. Maybe it’s the dried out Christmas tree face down on the curb waiting to be picked up, or all the candy wrapped in shiny green and red foil yet to be consumed. No matter how you look at it, the beginning of January has “Christmas hangover” written all over it. So if you are brave or depressed enough to admit that you are wrestling with this strange condition, the question becomes: How does one overcome? Is there a cure or an antidote that can be obtained without going through the trouble of enduring something akin to “The Scorch Trials”?
Well, my friends, I am happy to say, with a significant measure of confidence mind you, that a cure is ever available. But before I can share the cure, you must wrestle with a question: What has been lost in your life that needs to be regained? You see, I would suggest that in the previous month there was a seemingly enduring spirit that permeated your daily comings and goings. You were generally more patient with the mundane tasks of life, and consequently more grateful and joyful toward extraordinary opportunities that came your way. And why? The Christmas spirit exists because the birth of Jesus was real and offers us a promise fulfilled, a purpose understood, a hope realized, and a commitment that each of us were intended to make. So what needs to be regained is…
- the astonishment that comes from holy promises being fulfilled
- a sense of purpose that is so convincing no power of man can change it
- a hope that is not nostalgic but rather has a name…Jesus
- and finally, a commitment that is being kept in January because the spirit of Christmas never really dies.
I cannot help but think of Psalm 1:1-3 when reflecting on the Christmas Spirit and the January Disappointment: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
And so it should be that when the ball dropped and we tried to get in the habit of saying and writing 2016, so Christmas the event and season ended. But its purpose was to leave us wanting more, not to leave us feeling low. If we are to be those who enjoyed the birth of Jesus in December, then we should turn to the Scriptures and think a lot about them and how they impact our lives. In doing so, we become the type of people who “delight” in what the Bible teaches, primarily because the main character is Jesus. And when we are delighting and loving God’s commands, in turn, the Scriptures nourish us to have the resilience of a tree with the greatest soil and water supply. In other words, there is a circular aspect to this thing: we meditate, we delight, we prosper, and then we do it all over again. So now you know how to snap out of it and kick the January Disappointment to the curb with your dried up ol’ Christmas tree. And with that I simply say, “Happy New Year!”