The end of the year and the beginning of a new one can certainly cause people to stop and reflect on their past year, their current situation, and for that matter, their entire lives. There is something about the season which generates reflection.
I like that word “reflection.” I like how it sounds rolling off the tongue…I like the concept on many levels, the idea of “knowing yourself” and I also like the more literal meaning of an actual reflection. It reminds me of our origin. God decided to make humans in His “image” and I love the idea that we are to be an “image bearer” of God. We are not God nor will be ever be God but we are called to reflect God’s attributes as we are able.
What would it look like to be an image bearer? Perhaps Paul in his letter to the church in Galatia expresses it best with the description of the Fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These things we, as Christ followers, should be ‘reflecting’ to the outside world.
But before anyone starts to feel guilty (sorry, I was raised on guilt!) we need to look at the whole of the situation. Yes, we were created to be an ‘image bearer’ but we also must recognize that all of creation fell along with humankind. Or as has been said before by others, our reflection is marred by sin. Sin is the literal idea of ‘missing the mark’ as in missing an archery target. As I reflect on my reflective capacity of the past year, I know it missed the mark frequently.
Perhaps it is the understanding of how far from perfectly hitting that mark on a daily basis that I am that causes me to love what Jesus did for me so much. And maybe it is understanding that even though my reflective capacity might look more like fun house mirror at times than the perfect reflection of the Savior, I am excited by the fact that He is in the process still of redemption! He has not only paid for my “misses” both near and far, He is the midst of redeeming my heart, my attitude, and all that is. While the world is fallen, a time will come when it is set right again.
So while we can’t fix it all, we can, in Christ’s power, begin to work on parts. We can work on what we reflect toward others, we can work on the systems around us to attempt to negate what a “fallen creation” has allowed to happen. We can reflect God’s love, His goodness, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His gentleness, His faithfulness, His self-control…and in the process of doing that…we may find that looking back on the past year brings a sense of joy at the opportunities for the coming year!
Blessings to you all!