What we propose to do in the new year is not as important as what we actually do with the old year. That's why I suggest that instead of thinking about new year's resolutions, we should think about the resolution of the old year.
Judy White Edelson, in her Newsweek article "Not All Bridges Can Be Burned," recalls a remark her mother made whenever Judy did or said something foolish. "That will go into your permanent record," she would say. Judy admits she laughed at that warning. As a young person she anticipated "a long, full lifetime to make mistakes and explore endless possibilities."
The Democratic Convention was over. All the delegates had gone home. But in an obscure storage area at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History the moments were being preserved. Two Smithsonian historians had mingled among the Madison Square Garden crowd, scavenging memorabilia that will evoke the spirit of the convention for many years: Mylar confetti, souvenirs, banners, handmade signs, memories.
A businessman was trying to sell an old factory. The building had been vacant for months and had degenerated quite badly. Vandals had broken many of the windows and kicked in several doors. Trash was everywhere.
During an interview, the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski said, "It is not from choice that my life is music and nothing more, but when one is an artist what else can he be? When a whole lifetime is too short to attain the heights he wants to reach, how then can he devote any of the little time he has to things outside of his art?"
Christians are divided in their thinking about Christmas. Some want to give up on it and hand it over to the department stores. Others want to salvage it and use it to say something important about the birth of Jesus to a weary secular world. I, for one, would like to take my place with the second group.
The angel who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds said that he came to them with "good tidings of great joy" (Lk. 2:10). Many people today hear these words about "great joy" but don't understand them. They relish the season as they decorate their homes, shop in cheerful malls, attend festive parties, and exchange gifts with the ones they love. But after all the excitement subsides, they feel empty and joyless.