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I am a sucker for the New Year’s season.  The few days before New Year’s day and the few days afterwards are usually a season of incredible optimism on my part.  I just believe that this next year is going to be a better one.

The initial surge of enthusiasm does wane after a while but the core belief never disappears.  I am a hopeful, optimistic person by nature.

Why?   You know, that’s a good question.  It’s certainly not because of evidence supporting it.  If anything, if I were a pure evidentialist I think I’d be looking for a bunker or a deserted island.  The economic news, the climate news, the crime news, the societal news, the international news, …whatever news you choose to name has been pretty pessimistic of  late.  If all I had in life were the headlines I think you could build a real case for cynicism and despair.

But I have this deep belief that tomorrow can be a better day…that next week could be a turn in a different direction…that this year could be a year when things didn’t spiral, but changed.

Part of this comes from life experience.  I have experienced hardships but I have also experienced healing.   I have been let down by people but I have also been lifted up by people.

A  core aspect of all this  is “religious” for me.  I believe in a God who is a God of hope, and help, and heart.  I don’t understand everything He is doing but I trust Him for the long haul.  So I look at life and think, maybe this could be a year when difference occurs because our God is a God of hope, and help, and heart?

Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during World War II captured some of my thinking here.  He was speaking of the Americans who were slow to enter WW II.  He said of them, “they are basically good people who once they have exhausted all other possibilities- will eventually do the right thing”.   I feel that way about life—it’s full of  possibilities and options, but eventually if I keep trying and pulling in the right direction, I get to see some daylight and will move forward.

Cancer will not disappear by itself.  It will be cured because somebody somewhere decided that “I can find a cure for cancer” and went to work.  Homelessness will not stop because all the homeless people went away, it will stop because somebody somewhere said “I’m going to be part of a society that works to end homelessness”.  Starving children will not stop starving because we ignored them.  They’ll find nourishment because somebody somewhere said “one starving child is one too many”.

I work with pastors and Christian leaders.  What do you think you might do this year that would be “the right thing” for your congregation?

What can we do in 2013 to make this a better year?