With a new year having just begun, many of us have made resolutions to help transition into 2018.
Some are driven to lose weight, either by dieting or through increased exercise.
Others may resolve to break a bad habit, such as smoking or procrastination.
Still others may decide to scale back on their multitasking or aim to say no to an overwhelming number of commitments, striving for a healthier balance in life.
With each day passing, before we know it, the calendar pages will have flipped and we’ll see in a few months where we’re at with respect to our personal objectives.
Yes, hard to believe, the months of a year can pass by quickly.
In our household, we have a calendar on the wall in our kitchen, used to identify and organize all the many commitments involving our family.
Covering swimming lessons, birthday parties, doctor appointments, family dinners at my in-laws’ house, outings with my wife, catch-up nights with friends, out-of-town visitors coming to stay with us or a bunch of other items, it seems our calendar always seems to fill up faster than you can blink.
Indeed, the days get busy, the weeks turn crazy and the months pass along.
But in all of the hectic living many of us may go through, are we setting aside enough time?
Absolutely, we should set aside time for others – our spouse, our kids, our parents and siblings, our circle of poker mates or book club members, colleagues and everyone else.
Surely we need to set aside time for ourselves, too – a good book, a bubble bath soak in the tub, a workout, a coffee date with a friend, or anything else we need.
But what about God – will we make enough time for Him in 2018?
Life will always be busy, but are we resolving this year to include God in our days, weeks and months?
Let’s start with the obvious – there is the Sabbath Day to honor and visit God in His house.
For some more than others, attending a church service can be challenging or difficult for various reasons, but that is a perfect opportunity to involve God more in our lives this year.
Listening to Scriptural readings, taking part in communal prayer, participating in various traditions and meeting new people – all of this could be quite beneficial.
But let’s not forget a week has seven days and not just one.
Outside of attending a Mass or worship celebration for about an hour each week, where will God be the rest of the time for us?
This new year offers a chance to invite God into our homes through morning and bedtime prayers – whether we live alone, with our spouse, with children or friends.
Each meal we eat, we will have an opportunity to experience God’s presence and thank Him for His many blessings through even a tiny but reverent sharing of grace.
But prayer is not the only way we can feel and honor God this coming year.
Anytime we open the door for someone, or dust the snow off a person’s windshield in a parking lot this winter, or donate items to a local charity instead of seeking profit through a personal online sale – these are just some ways we can make time for God in 2018, whether that is daily, weekly or monthly.
A former student of mine once made a very clever project for her semester-end evaluation, creating a month-long calendar with all of the dates filled in.
On each of the calendar boxes was a sticky note indicating some sort of event or reminder. While this may seem normal and unimpressive, interestingly, the student tied everything back to the Lord.
There was a highlight for St. Valentine’s Day and a reminder to tell her family, friends and boyfriend she loved and appreciated them unconditionally.
The Sundays were circled for church and volunteer work at a local community center, encouraging underprivileged youth so they could be hopeful in their lives despite unfortunate circumstances.
She had identified the importance of studying for some upcoming tests, in order to excel and attain her fullest potential, helping her realize her post-secondary school goals and God’s vocations for her.
There was a note for her grounding, displaying accountability for breaking house rules and disrespecting her parents.
Other items marked included time set aside each night for Bible reading, as well as a road trip with friends – with a reminder to make prudent decisions while away from home, so as to continue living a chaste lifestyle.
As you can possibly relate, this student’s calendar was filled with many activities and commitments.
Yet, she reinforced the point that God can be included at the center of all of them, allowing our days, weeks and months to be filled with joy and prosperity.
So whatever the outcome of our resolutions, may all of us this year resolve to invite and include God in our lives every step of the way.
Doing so can certainly help us ensure that 2018 is, indeed, a happy new year.