There we were, standing in the cold night air, every chilled breath noticeable. We huddled together with hundreds, perhaps thousands who stood in front of the Nationwide tower in downtown Columbus, waiting for a glass elevator to drop. When it reached it’s lowest point, lights lit and fireworks shot up into the sky and we hugged and kissed and welcomed the New Year.

Fast forward about 40 years; we were in bed and asleep by midnight this year. Oh, we were young back then, and watching an elevator drop was an exciting thing to do. In fact, people watch things drop all around the world. People wait for hours in Times Square in New York City to watch a crystal ball drop. At the Beach in Fort Myers it’s a large seashell. In Tallapoosa Georgia, a stuffed opossum named Spencer is dropped. In Mobile Alabama a Moonpie in dropped. In fact, hundreds of cities and towns around the world drop something on New Years Eve. (check it out on Wikipedia).

In my thinking, it is only right that we drop something to welcome in the New Year. All of us can afford to drop something and leave it in the past. Perhaps a few pounds or maybe a bad habit. In our quest to draw closer to God in the New Year, it would be good to drop a sin from our lives; a bad attitude, an addictive behavior, unclean language, a toxic temper. In prayer, ask God, “Is there something that I need to drop, something I need to leave behind to make our relationship stronger?” Dropping something is an important first step to a happier New Year.

We shouldn’t leave it there, however. Christ compels us to also take something up.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.   Matthew 16:24

If we want to have the happiest of New Years, Jesus calls us to take up Christ-centered attitudes, to reach out to others, to love others unconditionally. It’s not enough to just drop a sin, an attitude, and addiction. Christ wants us to use the best of ourselves, our gifts, our talents, our skills to serve others, to reveal our Christian witness in everyday acts of love and charity.

Is there some sacrifice Christ is calling you to take up in this New Year; to volunteer at a food pantry, a hospital, to give blood, to serve in the church? May we all drop the weight of our sinful ways and “take up our cross” to follow Jesus. If we will, it can’t help but be a  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Jeff