New Year's Resolution
by Akiiki D. Kabagarama
The New Year comes with much excitement. In many parts of the world, people celebrate and wait till midnight of December 31st to say "bye" to the old year and to welcome the new year. When midnight strikes, the words "Happy New Year" are said in many languages.
When I was a young girl, growing up in Burungu village of western Uganda , I treasured this time. Family members gathered and we had a taste of the new crop because millet had just been harvested. Even as I write, I have a visual image of the festivities. I can almost hear the beat of the drum. My nostrils are also bringing to me the special flavor of goat meat and mushrooms.
For the past twenty-four years, I have lived in the U.S. I have adopted the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. I have succeeded at keeping some while failing at others. Now that I am thinking back, how many people make resolutions to make their lives right with God?
The world is increasingly becoming an uncomfortable place to live in. War, violence, disease, hatred and many other ills are rampant in both poor and rich nations. Materialism and greed are top priorities for many people. These have replaced the desire to strive for righteousness, love and justice. God is gradually being placed very low on the priority list.
When God is not number one in our lives, there is a price to pay. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, his reply was: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets." (Matt 22:37).
Jesus' words are clear. As we start year 2007, let us sincerely examine our priorities and ask God to help us re-order them so that God comes first in our lives. Let us also ask for guidance as we strive to love others as we love ourselves.
God of new beginnings,
Thank you for giving us this new year. Thank you for offering us a fresh start. Please help us to slow down and listen to your voice. Help us to discover your will for us as individuals, families, communities and nations. Teach us to put you first in all that we do. May peace and justice prevail in the world. Amen.