I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago, instead choosing one word to guide me through the entire year. Resolutions go by the wayside entirely too quickly and leave a sense of failure in their wake. Remembering one special word, meditating on it and acting on it throughout the year has been far more successful for me.
The word I chose for 2020 was “savor” — reminding me to live in this moment and render all the good possible from each one. As I look back over this strange new world birthed by a pandemic, I can see just how appropriate that word has been. It reminds me that yes, there are blessings to be found in times of distress and also that relationships and things I took for granted can be gone in an instant, so savor them now.
For 2021, my word is “seek.” It came to me as I was struggling to determine why certain things in my life happened as they did. What was the lesson God intended for me to learn? What changes in my life, beliefs, attitude are needed as a result? How could I apply the lesson and turn a painful situation into something beneficial, both for myself and for others who might face the same circumstances?
Over the course of several weeks, “seek” popped up everywhere. These Bible verses kept running through my mind: Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Televised sermons by three different pastors, two of whom I had not intended to listen to but just happened to catch as I was changing channels, all were based on “seeking” in one fashion or another. Even in emails and devotionals, there it was: Seek. And it was always followed by “find.” Two other verses that stood out:
Deuteronomy 4:29: “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Jeremiah 29:13: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
As a friend recently said, I’m not the brightest lightbulb in the chandelier, but even I can figure this out. My word, my focus, my intention for 2021 is to actively seek the truth — The Truth — and his wisdom and the promise is that I will find it.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the reappearance of what’s called the Star of Bethlehem, or the Christmas Star, or the Great Conjunction. I’ve read a lot of conflicting information on it, but what is certain is that on Monday, Dec. 21, the winter solstice, our solar system’s largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, will line up and the conjunction, or meeting together, will form what’s referred to as the Christmas Star. According to several sources, when the planets line up this way at the start of the winter solstice, they appear to form a double planet without obscuring each other’s brightness and what we see on Earth appears to be a huge, bright star such as hasn’t been visible since the Middle Ages. Since it’s so close to Christmas, it’s being referred to as the Christmas Star. Some say it’s the same phenomenon that led the Wise Men to the baby Jesus.
Could it be? Some say yes, some say no. Either way, it’s going to be a spectacular sight on the day that is the shortest day of the year for daylight, the day that signals when the amount of light increases each day onward. In a way, it’s the birth of light, occurring near the time of the celebrated birth of Jesus, who was the light of the world. In John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
It’s not yet 2021, but what better time to begin seeking than at Christmas? Perhaps that Christmas star that led wise men to Jesus will do the same for all who seek their own answers for this crazy year that we are so glad to see end.
May each of you have a blessed Christmas, and may you seek and find the gift that was born in Bethlehem.