A new year is here. It has become tradition for many of us to declare New Year resolutions. There are all the usual suspects that go along with this tradition. Get fit and lose weight. Hence the local gyms will be filled to capacity for a couple of weeks before things get back to normal. People will also try to read more instead of getting on the internet. So many homes will have partially read books next to them on the nightstand for many months to come. 

There is something hopeful about anything new. A new baby in the home is a game changer to be sure. Parents are given charge over a tiny human being without so much as an owner’s manual. The excitement of a new child is only surpassed by the terror of being a parent without a clue. 

Sometimes things that are new are connected to fond memories. When I was a young boy I remember the smell that accompanied opening up a brand new box of 64-Crayola crayons. It was a new school year and the smell of a new box of crayons told me that anything was possible. I remember those wonderful times when my parents brought home a new car. The unique smell of a new car has always put a smile on my face. I couldn’t wait to get on the road with my family and discover new places and adventures. 

The real problem with all of this is that newness slowly fades away and eventually becomes ordinary. Children grow up and become teenagers. Enough said about that. Things that were once new soon lose their luster. Crayons get used. Points get worn down. Some get broken in two pieces. Cars start to take on the smell of whatever was last eaten by their occupants. It won’t be long before petrified french fries and fallen Skittles candies work their way down into the crevasses of the seats. 

All material things eventually age and lose their novelty of being new. Yet our Christian faith reminds us that God continues to be at work in the world creating new things for us to behold. Every morning we wake up to a new day with new possibilities. Each and every day is a gift for us to enjoy and share. 

We tend to look for and only see the big things. We miss the small things that really make a difference in other people’s lives. That is really unfortunate. Very few of us are in positions where we can make the big things happen. All of us are in a place where we have the power to do the little things that have the potential to touch another person’s life for the better. 

A kind word of encouragement can really make someone’s day when they are struggling just to get by. A simple act of forgiveness given or received, can restore that which was once broken beyond repair. Hold the door for someone following you into a building. Let another car into traffic when it is backed up. Double a recipe and share it with someone who lives alone. Write a handwritten thank you note to someone who graciously helped you out when you were down. 

Maybe a better way to approach a new year is just to resolve to be kind. In a bitterly divided world kindness is a much needed commodity that is in short supply. Kindness is the healing balm our souls for which our souls yearn. Start with something small. Do one random act of kindness and then step back and take note of it. Then increase the dosage to two random acts of kindness and see what a difference you might make in the world. It’s a new year and a new day. Be bold enough to try something new that might make others take note. Perhaps they will even join you. It’s the small things in life that have the power to change the big things in our world. 

Mark+