Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Word for 2014

As few and as far between as my posts have been lately, I thought now would be as good a time as any to announce my word and song for 2014.

I assume that people who read my blog have read previous blogs I've written about my weird tradition, but let me explain for any possible new readers.  For the past several years, around Christmas, I have been choosing a word from the Biblical account of Christmas that will set the tone for the following year.  The first word I chose was Joy, then Peace, then Hope, and last Christmas, this year, my word was Glory.  Three years ago, I also added a song to the mix--my "Year of Hope" had a theme song--"My Hope is in You" as performed by Aaron Shust.  This year, my "Year of Glory," my theme song was Jason Gray's "It's Good to Be Alive" which is about giving God glory for your life just by living to the fullest. 

I focus on words from Christmas because, well, Christmas is kind of a big deal for me.  It's kind of my focal point of the whole year.

Honestly, all year I've been kind of worried about my word and song for 2014.  Last Christmas season (and keep in mind, my Christmas season starts in September and runs through about March), I knew exactly what my word was going to be.  I knew what it was going to be all year.  Almost as soon as I picked "Hope" for my  word for 2012, I knew that "Glory" was going to be my word for 2013.  But this year, I had no clue.  I kept thinking, "Well, it will come to me," but by August, I was starting to get worried. 

Then September came, and I was really worried.  I had no clue what the word was going to be.  October came, and I was starting to think that maybe the tradition was over.

...but then one October morning on the way to church, I heard a song on the radio.  It was a newly released song that I'd never heard before.  Usually, when I hear a song, I have to hear it a few times before the lyrics sink in and I decide I like it.  But I only had to hear this song once, and I knew.  I knew this was going to be my song of the year. 

Because one line of the song really stood out to me, and suddenly I also knew what my word of 2014 was going to be.

And actually, a "word" for 2014 isn't really an appropriate description, because it's not a word.  It's a phrase.  It's one of my favorite phrases in all of Scripture, and it's said on multiple occasions in the Biblical Christmas story.

"Don't Be Afraid."

And when I think about it, God's been weaving that theme through so much of my life this past year.  I'd read about God calling Joshua and Israel to be strong and courageous.  I even wrote a blog back near Easter about not being afraid, relating back to the Christmas story.  You would think I'd get the memo then, but it takes me awhile.

I'm afraid of a lot of things--and new fears pop up all the time.  But 2014 is the year I really focus on the command "Don't Be Afraid."  The angels always gave reasons we don't have to fear--and all of those reasons point back to Jesus and what He has done so that we can fully live for God's glory.

The song for 2014?  "Love Alone is Worth the Fight" by Switchfoot. 

"And we'll find what we're made of through the open door.  Is it fear you're afraid of?  What are you waiting for?  Love alone is worth the fight!"

It's a powerful song, but so full of hope.  And that's where I want to be as this year closes and the next year begins.  I want to fight the things that I fear, because the life God is calling me to live is so worth living.  I don't know if I'll succeed in making some long-suffered dreams come true.  I don't know if I'll just keep struggling through with what I have now (which is already more than I deserve--a wonderful life).  I do believe I'll choose joy.  I do believe I'll pursue peace.  I do believe there will be so much hope.  I do believe God will be glorified.  And I do believe it's time to be strong and courageous, to face the Dragons again, to be who God is making me to be just as hard as I can be.  Love is worth it.  Life is worth it.  He is worth it. 

So merry Christmas, maybe a little early for you--but I feel like it's right on time.  "Don't Be Afraid." I gotta make a Christmas decoration with that phrase, because I don't think I'll be able to find one, at least not for cheap.

Oh here.  Enjoy this song, my song of 2014.