Did you know…

That New Year’s Day used to be a more popular holiday than Christmas Day?  New Year’s was a traditional festival in pre-industrial English towns and villages and, according to historian Hugh Cunningham, mid-nineteenth century employers had a difficult time convincing their newly-urbanized workers to give it up. Some managers gave up completely, allowing workers a holiday on New Year’s and Easter Monday rather than on Christmas Day and Good Friday, the two holidays revered by Parliament.

It makes sense to hold New Year’s Day as a holiday – a day of leisure or time with family that allows a body to sink into the thought of a fresh start in a new year. I tend to make resolutions on a weekly basis rather than a year basis – because that’s about how long I can keep them most of the time – but I thought I’d share some general goals for the coming year. These are hopes rather than rules, I think, but ones that I’d like to have a go at:

1.) Blog once a month – and if all of my potential material seems uninteresting, find a way to make it fascinating.

2.) Read some of the classic Christian spiritual writers and/or try contemplative prayer. (Thank you, Rachel Held Evans, for the inspiration to delve into Julian of Norwich, Theresa of Avila, and the book of Proverbs.)

3.) Set reasonable goals and work hard to meet deadlines. My housemate, Maya, and I have been in continuous conversation about this over the semester. Here’s to a new semester in which to succeed.

4.) Recommence the practice of giving. Growing up evangelical, tithing is one of those things you just learn to do. I’m part of a congregation now that is particularly good at it, and it’s time for me to get back in the habit of giving to church and charities on a regular basis.

5.) Be more gracious about losing…and winning. I am a petulant loser when it comes to card games, board games, and mild competitions of all varieties. I also gloat when I win. This might seem like a small thing to resolve to change, but I’d like to think that cultivating graciousness in this specific area of my life will lead to greater grace in other areas as well – like wedding planning and the politics of academia and communications with friends.

There you have it. Some goals for the year. I’ll undoubtedly add others as the month (or week) wears on, but at the very least I’d like to strive toward these hopes and share my successes and shortcomings in them throughout the year.

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