“New Year’s Resolution: More Wonder, Less Worry!”

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? —Psalm 8: 3,4. NRSV

I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Nonetheless, as 2020 begins I resolve to have more wonder in my life and less worry. I’m not going to lie; there is plenty to worry about. But I have learned from keeping a journal that when I look back on what I was worrying about it was usually the wrong thing.

I resolve to be less distracted by the shiny and ephemeral so that I can pay more attention to what is truly wonderful around me. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote this about wonder: “We do not come upon wonder only at the climax of thinking or in observing strange, extraordinary facts but in the startling fact that there are facts at all: being, the universe, the unfolding of time. We may face wonder at every turn, in a grain of sand, in an atom, as well as in the stellar space.” (God in Search of Man)

The poet who wrote Psalm 8 looked up at the night sky in wonder and became aware of the vast divide between the eternal Creator and us frail creatures. The Psalmist was also wonder-struck that this majestic Creator should care for us mortals.

Whenever I am hesitant to approach this high and holy God in prayer, I remember that this same God, so far removed from us, reached out in love to be “God with us” in the humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself is the mediator between heaven and earth. He is the bridge between frail human flesh and the majesty of the Creator.

Whatever the new year brings God will be with us, and that is cause for more wonder and less worry!

Prayer: God with us, as the new year unfolds, open us to the wonder that is everywhere around us, and free us from the worry that robs us of fullness of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(This is my devotion for January 1, 2020 in the United Church of Christ’s Daily Devotional booklet for Advent to Epiphany. Photo: “The Gloaming” by R.L Floyd, 2019.)