Christmas and New Years parties are something that I look forward to every year. I’m guessing the same is true for most of you reading this. Being with family and friends to celebrate the commencement of a new year is a lot of fun. Many of us will make new year’s resolutions won’t we? After all of the Christmas candy and guilt we feel from consuming it, we will have a diet plan that starts at the first of the new year! I will probably have a new diet plan as well, but I want to remind you of what Paul says in I Timothy 4. “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Notice that godliness is of value now and always, even for eternity. It makes sense for us to not only have some basic new years resolutions, but also some that are intentionally spiritual in nature. Will you take some time with your family to do that?
As much as I look forward to Christmas and New Year’s celebration, there is a special time with my wife and children that I look forward to even more. It is our special little getaway that we have each year, to set personal and family goals with each other right after Christmas. It is a time each year when we go away to play board games, eat, swim and enjoy each other. It is also a time when our whole family thanks God for the blessings of the past year. Every year is filled with some difficulties and pain to be sure, but there is also a lot for us to celebrate as we think of God’s kindness and to recognize it together as a family. It is also a time when Amy and I challenge each other and the kids to make spiritual goals for the upcoming year. We have quiet times, bible study, and prayer together as well during this outing. It is highly scheduled and very intentional. It is a time for us to re-center as a family and get ready for the challenges ahead with a fresh sense of God’s will for our lives together and individually.
Goals need to be about the Basics
When Amy and I plan out the meetings and fun that we will have, we don’t overthink it too much. It’s really just a few things that we want to hone in on during this short time that we have with the kids. How is their current prayer life? What does their current time in the Word of God look like? Are they keeping good company? Is fellowship with believers a priority? How do we make sure as a family to keep time for family worship with the busy schedules that we have? How do we keep harmony in the home? Are we loving one another well? Is there any confessing or repenting of sin that needs to take place? What are my spiritual goals for this upcoming year? How can we help each other accomplish these goals?
Examples of Spiritual Goals
After we have set our goals, we share them with each other and pray for each other to meet them. Here are some examples of goals from my family for 2023:
1. I want to be in the Word every day this upcoming year. 2. In personal prayer every day this upcoming year. 3. Concentrate and ask for God’s help in true repentance. 4. Spend more time with each child on a personal level. 5. Practice the spiritual discipline of fasting more in 2023.
My 10 year old:
1. Pray more in the upcoming year. 2. Read bible first each day. 3. Focus more on God. 4. Obey and think about what Jesus would do. 5. Do what’s right.
My 15 year old:
1. Be a better example of Jesus to my classmates. 2. Sacrifice more for others and think less of self. 3. Be more dedicated to quiet times. 4. Don’t be afraid to confront others in sin.
The Manna Box
The final thing that we do is look into our manna box. This is a box that contains all of the answered prayers from the following year. We read them off with the dates they were answered and celebrate all that God has done for our family during the year. This morning we did this as a family and realized we had 118 specific answers to our family prayers during 2022! Each one of us ended our outing thanking God together for HIS answers to us during 2022. The 2022 manna box is then retired and we begin with a new box for 2023. Don’t miss out on making spiritual goals for your family for 2023. It’s not too late!
May God bless your family in the new year!