© 2009 Alyssa L. Miller, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

© 2009 Alyssa L. Miller, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I admit it. This year (well, technically last year) I pretty much ignored New Year’s Eve. I have nothing against it. I just was busy doing regular stuff and it was ridiculously cold and my kids are grown up.

For many years we met the neighbors outside at midnight to watch the fireworks going off at the top of Pikes Peak, which we can do from our front yards. Somewhere along the way, my neighbor started buying everybody a can of Silly String, so every year we’d chase each other around and make a mess of yellow and pink and green that lingered for days in side-by-side driveways.

Which was fun in the years when the weather was mild and less fun if the wind chill was -9 and everything was coated with ice.

Eventually the kids grew up and began making their own plans. Moved out. And I could admit I just wanted to go to bed at 10:00.

But I still think acknowledging the new year is important. And here’s my simple reason why.

Because we all need a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance.

I don’t typically make formal resolutions. Partly this is because I know the dismal statistics about failure to follow through on life changes. Most of us need contemplating life changes need more motivation than the turn of a calendar.

But the dismal statistics should not keep us from envisioning the ways we’d like our lives to be full of love and joy and meaning.

So after we say we’re giving up sugar and then et that first brownie, we need another chance to make a more realistic goal. And a third chance. And a fourth chance.

When we say, “Happy New Year,” let’s translate that into, “Take as many chances as you need to reach for happiness.”

Let’s not dismiss the effort any of us makes to choose health, to choose significance, to choose impact, to find redemption and community.

Let’s not default to judgment of others so that we can feel better about ourselves.

Let’s not leave anyone to feel alone. Let’s together receive the abundant life God wants to give us.

And that, my friends, is a happy new year.