A Poetic Guide to New Years Resolutions


Popping the top off a bottle of… well sparking grape juice for me, make me think of all the things I want to enjoy for the next year, all the new tastes I want to cultivate, all the new trails I want to explore.

Not that I don’t like champagne, but my whole family loves the sparkling grape juice which makes it more fun to sip together!

In the Lord of the Rings movies Peter Jackson did something unfortunate with Bilbo’s poem on the road when it was sung by Merry in the Halls of Gondor’s Stewart. He made it dour instead of uttered in the hushed breath of excitement.

“Home’s behind! The world’s ahead! There are many Path’s to tread!”

This is the anthem of the night hiker, the star gazer, the one who waits to hear the call of the nightingale or heads out only to be guided home buy the early crows of the cockerel. It isn’t some dour prediction of events to come, a cruel anticipation of a battle to come. All though, Billy Boyd made it sound pretty spectacular as such.

New Years, that’s a time to set our feet on the road and see where it takes us. Resolutions aren’t usually bad things: to want to change one’s outward appearance or spend more time with family or find more rewarding work or time to volunteer. But where’s the joy, the thrill, the motivation that makes the heart yearn for change over the pain of remaining the same?

In other words, what’s the motive force behind the change?

My basic guideline is this: experience the fullness of creation, the abundance of life promised in Christ! Seek those things first, and see what happens. Set a myriad of small goals centered on the mystic in the every day, and the adventurous every day service that let’s you see Christ and serve him in your neighbor, your friend, your children, your parents, your spouse.

Mother Teresa said there are no great acts of love, just small acts done with great love. It fits in with Bilbo’s poem – there’s nothing all that spectacular about the road if you look at it, nothing spectacular in putting your feet one in front of the other, but in the midst of simple small acts, the encounter with the divine, with the Spirit of God, the Companionship of Christ, or the Transcendence of the Father, will leave you wandering until “mist and shadow, cloud and night, away shall fade… away shall fade”.

Have a Very Happy New Year!


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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