Now a new year begins, and we can take out the resolutions we made last year and didn’t keep, polish them up, and try again.

~ Gladys Taber, Stillmeadow Seasons

Christmas has come and gone and the tree is still up.  No one can bear to take down the shining lights and colorful ornaments. 

The reality is I feel a bit disatisfied with how this Advent and Christmas went.  There were moments of genuine Christmas at the heart of all our days, but something seemed lacking. . . as if I missed the whole thing for the sake of trying to do it all right.

So I think about next Christmas and try to plan how I’ll do it different – do it right.

And isn’t that what the New Year is all about?  Thinking back over the past year and trying to devise some method that will prevent the mistakes of the past?

I have my own set of resolutions for myself and my home.  The main thing I want for the coming year is shalom:

The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.

~ Cornelius Plantinga

I realize that’s a broad goal, one that is hard to measure in any precise way. 

To make it easier for myself, I devised a system of monthly goals.  This month’s?  “To nurture a spirit of thankfulness in every circumstance. . .”

I realize the whole idea that I’ll revolutionize my home this year seems absurd.  But, maybe it is possible?  Maybe this could be the year of shalom in this home. . .

Every day I take an extra-long piece of paper out and write Shalom in large letters at the top, letters looping and curling.  Underneath I write the monthly goal.  The rest of the paper is filled with daily and weekly reminders of caring for health and home, and at the bottom are three list of to-dos:  school, chores, other.

If I can just stay focused on the big Shalom all day, make that the most important thing I do all day, the most important thing I accomplish in my home. . .  If I can even just make it down to the monthly goal. . .  make sure I’m nurturing that spirit of gratitude each day no matter what the day brings. . .  I think, just maybe, this can work.

So, I focus on the big Shalom as I cross the threshold into this new year.

Kids coughing and sneezing and fighting and playing. . .  dishes mounting and laundry piling. . .  I focus on the big Shalom.  For that is what matters – the peace I bring into this home. . .  this year and ever after.