Thoughts in the New Year

This past holiday was a wonderful rest after a very busy first term of Masters. The weekend before Christmas was spent with the immediate family. Jen and I also went to the 11th annual Christmas party to catch up with old high school friends. I stayed at my parents place until Tuesday (Christmas Eve) when we went up as a family to visit the Lam Fam over Christmas. It was nice to spend Christmas with such a large group of people, and with so many growing families. I saw some little cousins who I had not yet met, the youngest being Hen and Greg’s newborn son Benry.

Christmas day was a very joyful event. I also find that in every year that passes, I gain an additional sliver of understanding of what it really means that God sent his son into the world. Sometimes I even think it strange that we use the word “sent”. God became human, stooped to our level, so that we might be holy in His eyes and be called His children. It’s such an amazing promise and yet I forget about it daily as if it isn’t naturally wired into my system. I either forget because of the worldly feeling of impossibility, or because it’s almost too great and glorious for my tiny mind to comprehend. All I can do is try to remind myself daily, hoping that this great gift will become a greater part of my being.

This year I think I finally understood a bit more of God’s timing. He came to the earth in the dawn of the Roman empire during the reign of Ceasar Augustus, an emperor who claimed a divine heritage and expanded the empire to include almost all of Europe. I think that God intentionally decided to send the greatest and yet most humble king into a period of history remembered for its earthly glory. And yet the Roman empire fell, and through history there have been failed attempts to bring back that same shallow glory, a few of which I studied while I was in Rome and experienced something of the mirroring of history as witnessed by architecture.

The new year is a such a refreshing time. It’s a time when we allow ourselves a blank slate with the hopes of breaking old habits, accomplishing many things, and working towards self betterment. I often give myself a New Years resolution and this year is going to be a tough one. I’ve decided to give up watching TV and movies when I’m on my own. I have found that living alone has made it into a constant habit and it is a real time waster. I’m hoping to replace that time by being more intentionally social (planning things for once instead of just following along), devoting more time to God, and doing other activities more often like reading, arts and crafts, and music. Wish me luck! I’m one week in and I’m already going crazy without it. Those of you who live alone will understand the cosy feeling of eating dinner in front of a TV show to remove the strange feeling of eating in silence. Although the new year is a great reason to set new goals, I’m trying not to forget that God has made it possible for me to begin new each day because He forgives my sins. Even if I screw up again and again his mercies are new every morning!

I was fortunate over the holidays to share meals with many people, an activity that I never appreciated as much as I do now. The holidays were a wonderful time to catch up with friends who I had not seen in a while. I had coffee at different points with a few friends, went to a New Years party in Toronto organized by a friend from Grace Toronto church, and went skiing in the new year with friends from school. Skiing after a three year hiatus felt amazing. It was all such a blessing.


Here is a an interesting perspective on John 3:16 that my cousin Janice printed out and showed to us on Christmas day:


For God [the greatest good]

so loved [the greatest action]

the world [the greatest need]

that He gave [the greatest example]

His only son [the greatest sacrifice]

that whoever [the greatest invitation]

believes in him [the greatest response]

should not perish [the greatest horror]

but have eternal life [the greatest gift]

John 3:16 [the greatest promise]

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