Michelle Martin

Be it resolved

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions.

I never have, and I don’t suppose I ever will, although if the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we can never be sure what’s coming.

Maybe it’s because New Year’s has never really seemed like the ideal time for a new start for me, no matter how many ads for Weight Watchers and gyms fill my news feed come Jan. 1 each year. It’s more the time to curl up with a book and a hot drink.

Or, if I want to be productive, it’s the time to clean up: take down the Christmas tree, find places for the new things we all got for Christmas, dispose of broken toys and appliances and worn out clothes, find places to donate those things that are still working but no longer working for us.

For me, the real beginning of the year is springtime, when the grass greens, the leaves appear on trees and the flowers bloom. Or maybe even fall, when the return to school brings a new energy to everyone.

But every year, people — especially my kids — ask me what my New Year’s resolutions are.

I don’t know. Maybe to write “2022” when I have to add the date to things?

We could all do worse, I suppose, than to follow the advice I’ve given my older kids when they headed off to college: Eat reasonably healthy food, get a reasonable amount of sleep and get regular exercise, even if that just means walking from one place to another.

I’m not sure they followed that advice, at least not at first. By their third and fourth years, when the newness of no one grumbling that they were up too late and when was the last time you ate a vegetable wore off, they seemed to do better.

Now, I think I would add this to that advice: Spend time with people, face-to-face. Online communication is great, but it’s not a substitute for human contact.

Human contact reminds us to value our friends and neighbors, even our family members, in their full, three-dimensional reality, with their great gifts and deep faults. It allows us to be amazed, and to understand and even to forgive, because, after all, we are all human. It’s much harder to write someone off when they are sitting across the table, instead of an image on a computer screen.

Maybe that’s why God became incarnate and lived among us. It’s not as though the Creator didn’t know what we humans were like, how we were using our God-given abilities for good and ill. Maybe God knew us well enough to know that we are so much more than a list of our deeds, and God knew that we could never understand him unless we could see him as one of us. Only then could we see him in each of us.

So let that be a New Year’s resolution this year: Let’s look for God — for the Christ Child of the Christmas season — in all those we meet. Even those we’d rather just write off.



  • family life