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The lights of Christmas have begun to fade and many of us are still recovering from the mass marketing blitz of early bonus buys, buy one get one stocking stuffers and last minute gift deals. We are coming upon a new season and a whole new brand of advertising frenzy. The new year is unlike many other changes in season. It represents the possibility for new beginnings in our lives. With each new year, there is the hope that something better lies in our future. Advertisers are keenly aware of the desire for positive change in our lives and often take advantage of our yearnings for “change” and attempt to show us that “things” can make our lives better in the New Year.
Jennifer Hudson promotes the Weight Watchers brand, suggesting that if we take control of our appetites we can live fuller lives in 2013. Capital One suggests that having a credit card will improve the quality of life—not to mention making shopping trips Viking-free! Luxury car brands persuade us that 2013 will be more joyous with flashy leather interior and premium upgrades. Of course, all of these products can have positive impacts on our daily lives but none of these products can satisfy our spiritual hunger, nor can they improve our overall happiness. Getting healthy is important but a healthy body doesn’t always cure loneliness. Keeping track of our finances and maintaining good credit is beneficial but money does not always solve sadness—in fact, it seldom does. Toys and gadgets can bring short-term amusement but entertainment does not always quiet an anxious heart.
Worrying about the future is natural and wanting to improve our everyday experience is an essential part of being human. New things, new habits and new hobbies can help us become better versions of ourselves. However, the New Year is also a time to remember that God provides for us without us ever having to swipe a credit card or fill out an application. God’s love extends to all people. The gospel of Matthew reminds us that God’s grace is a gift, even when we are too busy worrying to notice. Every child of God is beloved and God cares about our happiness. God wants us to see that life is more than food, more than clothing, and more than worry. Serving others, giving to a good cause and taking care of loved ones are all ways to connect with God and fill your spirit in the New Year. In your prayers for 2013, remember that God desires to be in a relationship with all people and spiritual life matters to God all year round.
(Shayanna Jolly is the pastor at Crittenden Christian Church. She can be reached at 859-428-2210. Facebook page is www.facebook.com/CrittendenChristian Church and website is www.critttendenchrisitian.com)