January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Every year at the start of a new year, we begin to think about New Year's resolutions and how we hope the next year will be better than the last.  We set goals to loose weight, exercise more, eat less, and the like.  As I contemplated what I would like most from this new year, I thought to what I would like to become.  I would like to learn more about the Savior Jesus Christ and be able to be more like Him.  As I thought how I could achieve this, oddly enough my thoughts went to the Twelve Days of Christmas and Hanukkah.  You may ask how these relate, allow me to explain.

The Twelve Days of Christmas are an ancient tradition that starts Christmas day and run for the twelve days after; each day a new significant feast to help commemorate the birth of Christ.  Each Christian sect has different ways to celebrate each day, but the most important aspect of the twelve days, is to help the worshiper draw unto Christ, by helping to prolong the Christmas spirit.

Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday used to commemorate the eight days of light they had from one jar of oil.  After the Jews retook the temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. after its capture by the Greeks, they found their temple desecrated and only enough oil to burn in the temple for one day.  Jewish law prescribed that the menorah be lit at all times with holy consecrated oil.  This oil took about eight days to prepare, yet they only had one day's worth.  In the end, the oil lasted all eight days, until they had enough time to prepare and consecrate new oil to light the temple.  Today the Jews celebrate Hanukkah by lighting a candle every night to help remember this miracle that brought light back into the temple and into their lives through temple worship.

Each of these festivals is not just one day, but several, to help the follower more keenly remember the salvation that was given to their fathers, and to themselves.  As the Christmas season approaches, we often talk of how we would like to have this feeling all year round; thus the combination of Hanukkah, the Twelve Days of Christmas, and New Year's resolutions.  What would it be like if instead of celebrating once a year for twelve days, but instead every month twelve times.  What if each month we focused on a new attribute of the Savior, and looked for ways we could live that principle in our lives.  What if once a month we looked for ways that light and salvation had been brought into our lives through Christ Jesus.

My resolution this year is thus; each month to focus on a new attribute of the Savior and blog about my experience in studying and applying that principle.  If you have read some of my previous blogs, you know that one of my favorite questions is how the Savior lives the laws He gives us.  How does the Savior have patience, faith, love, charity, hope, and long suffering.  We speak of the gifts of the spirit (as described by Paul); how does the Savior exemplify these gifts and how does He bless the lives of others through His gifts.  I invite you to join me in this resolution to know the Savior, by not only commemorating His birth once a year, but to remember the way He LIVED His life twelve times a year.  Choose your own attribute that you would like to learn about and study it, and then -- here is the key -- apply it that month as much as you can.  If you have a blog or a journal, record your impressions and feelings, then share it with someone else.  Start now by choosing twelve attributes you would like to study.  These might change, but keep them as a reminder to help you progress through the year.

May the New Year bring you closer to the Savior and closer to those around you, and may this year be better than the last because you knew the Lord and were able to become more like Him.

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