New year, new me, you hear people say. “Last year, I drunk too much”, “Last year, I didn’t do enough exercise”, the list goes on. We have this idea that as the new year passes, we have a new opportunity to begin our lives anew and start again. We clean out our cupboards, we sign up for that gym membership and we might even promise to pray more, but why?
As an occasional gym goer, I always refuse to go to the gym at the start of the year. Why you may ask? Its because of all those people who tell themselves they are going to get fitter and completely change their bodies to be a new healthy version of themselves. Within a week, I am back into the gym with all of the regulars who have signed up for some time, with none of the newcomers around. The people who stick around are not looking for dramatic change, but instead, opt for slow constant improvement.
If we look towards Jesus and his stories in the Bible we can see this idea of being reborn and being born anew. Jesus would ask rich men to give away all their wealth in a bid to be one with him, at which they would hang their heads low and run back to their mansions. We do, however, see big changes occur in those who take the simplest of actions. For example; the woman who touched the cloak of Jesus, the disciples choosing to listen to Jesus and the washing of feet. We see people who make these small improvements, receive the praise of Jesus.
So what would Jesus say to people who say “new year, new me?” Who knows, but I think he might say something like good luck and then letting out a wry chuckle, how about, new year, better me? We know that Jesus made us, and that often time our actions take us further away from Jesus, so why would we want to become something new, when what we ask for is right there? The closer we come to Jesus, the closer we come to ourselves and we can do this all the time by opting for slow, constant improvement.