There’s good reason to celebrate New Year’s. You benefited from the Lord’s blessing over the past 12 months—and His grace will continue as the calendar flips to 2014.
Gather a few close believers: family members, your Bible-study group or Sunday School class, and mark this annual transition with a time of prayer, thanksgiving and preparation.
Meet with your friends in advance to discuss how to make New Year’s Eve spiritually valuable. You may agree to a time of prayer and fasting prior to NewYear’s Eve. This way, you’ll be ready to pray specifically for one another when you gather later. You’ll also be ready to fill out personal resolution cards based on the Lord’s leading, if you choose.
Some Christians celebrate the New Year by recommitting to Christ. This is a serious time of repentance and asking God to reveal areas of weakness. Other church groups start the year with Scripture reading—some reading aloud the entire New Testament between noon on December 31 and noon on January 1. This is a big undertaking for a small group, but your group could participate in a church-wide reading and meet for a gathering afterward.
Honor the Lord in all you do. Keep this in mind when planning decorations, food and drinks. Design elements can help set the mood. For instance, white flowerssuggest purity, and green items suggest new life.
Many Christians spend this night at home, preferring to avoid worldly parties and drunk drivers. We honor their choices, too. All believers should seriously seek God’s guidance in how to live out the New Year.
Sparkling Juices & Waters *
Mini Almond Cakes*
* purchased or family recipes
2 weeks before: Purchase craft supplies and make resolution cards, pinwheels and poppers. Purchase nonperishable groceries and order flowers.
2 days before: Clean house. Gather and clean serving trays, dishware and linens.
1 day before: Purchase perishable groceries and pick up flowers. Prepare stuffed mushrooms; refrigerate. Prepare cranberry mixture for tarts and spreads for crostini appetizers; refrigerate. Prepare Crostini Toasts and Garlic Crostini Toasts; cool and store separately in airtight containers. Chill beverages. Set table.
6 to 12 hours before: Cook beef and cool to room temperature; slice. Cut tomatoes and mozzarella slices; cover and refrigerate.
2 to 3 hours before: Prepare fresh tomato mixture for crostini.
1 hour before: Marinate scallops; wrap in prosciutto. Prep phyllo shells and brie. Preheat oven. Begin crostini assembly.
15 minutes before: Bake and plate hot appetizers.
Just before Dessert: Light the 2014 sparklers.
New Year’s resolutions to stop overeating or to start exercising with the goal of self-improvement or self-glorification rarely succeed. Without the power of God and righteous motivation—to honor God and not yourself—resolutions rely on our weak ability to see them through. Ask God to inspire you with the resolutions you should pursue.
Philippians 4:13 NIV says, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Here are some tips for making resolutions:
1) Pray to the Lord and ask for wisdom to determine if you should make resolutions and what those resolutions should be. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
2) Pray for God’s wisdom, relying on His strength and the encouragement of the Scriptures to fulfill the goals He gives you.
3) Ask for help from an accountability partner who will encourage you throughout the year.
4) Give all glory to God. Psalm 37:5–6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”
For a meaningful New Year’s Eve, offer your guests resolution cards and envelopes. Invite the group into a time of quiet prayer and reflection, allowing each person the opportunity to write a request to God for help in a specific area. Encourage guests to pray over their requests during the year. Send your friends home with small packages of handmade cards that can be shared with any who need God’s message of hope.