Years ago our family had a little dog. She was a terrier, bred to flush rats and other pests out of their hiding places. In our home she did nothing of the sort, and lived her days either resting upon pillows or perched atop the highest piece of furniture she could find, little eyes fixed on the world outside our windows. She never missed a squirrel sighting. But when she was outside, her nose was to the ground, little legs trotting click, click, click as fast as they could in any direction the scents took her. If we left her off the leash she would soon get lost. She never looked up.
Slogging through days can be overwhelming and confusing. We can lose our way when our noses are to the ground, and we soon find ourselves in a different place than we originally intended. When our eyes are down we have blinders on, losing sight of our path. We don’t start out intending to lose our way, but it happens.
I often feel this way by December, the madness of the holiday taking over as my nose is to the ground doing all the stuff that goes along with it. It’s simultaneously my most and least favorite time of year. I don’t take the time to look up, and by the end of the month I am triumphant, exhausted, harried, and grumpy.
I love the New Year because it promises new beginnings. We vow to employ healthier ways of living, better organization, time to do well what we slacked off on by the end of last year. It’s a freshly scrubbed time, and we promise ourselves that this year will be better, new, improved.
The New Year is a time to reorient. Holiday decorations are put away and we assimilate new things into our everyday lives. We get back to a schedule, adding new things and taking away old things that don’t fit anymore. We renew our sights to what is right and good in our lives.
In January, I also reorient myself to God. It’s funny, how Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. You’d think that such a holy celebration would also be the most spiritual. But for me, this is hardly the case. There’s a reason why a candlelit Silent Night makes me cry every year. It’s the guaranteed time during the season that I look up, the one time that my nose is off the ground. But in January, I take the chance to look up for longer than a song. I can clearly see that God has been with me the whole time, and now I ask for direction, realign myself with his will, find my way once again. He always helps me get on the path.
I wish that I could remember to do this every December, to really celebrate the holiness of Christmas. But the nice thing about God is that he will wait for me to reorient myself, anytime.
Go and celebrate… This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)