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By: Jonathan Goodwin

Typically this would be one of the saddest times of the year for me. As all of the lights, garlands, and decorations go down a little at a time, the house begins to look really bare! Perhaps you don’t understand...only a few short days after Halloween, the decorations begin appearing throughout the Goodwin house. Yes it’s true…we are that crazy family that has their house lit up ( with enough lights to light the rest of the neighborhood as well…smh) way too soon in comparison to most. But we can’t help ourselves. We love this time of year, the joy it brings, the memories that are made, and the chance to celebrate the greatest gift we’ve ever received.

However, after 15 years in Ministry and 7 years of marriage, I find that my normal ‘post-Christmas blues” are in fact…not so sad this time. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not the kind to fall into a deep depression because the holidays are over or countdown the days until another year ends. However, I hate to see the lights and decorations go down at our home. Thankfully, I have an amazingly gifted wife that takes care of putting up and taking down all of the decorations. So in my world, one day I walk in and notice they are starting to slowly disappear to be stored away for another year.

One of the things I have noticed about most people is they despise change. They often fight it, hate it, or go out of their way to avoid it. When in fact the only thing in your life that never changes is the fact that the world is always changing! (Some of you will get that in a few hours…) Change is inevitable. We all face it and we all must deal with it at whatever level it comes. For some reason, the thought of change has always frightened me a bit. To think of walking into the ‘unknown’ can bring some strong anxiety! However this year is different. For the first time, I’m happy to see the decorations gone, the clutter removed, and a home free of what was. Most every year of our married life, and even before, you would have found us on stage somewhere on New Year’s Eve. This year was no different, on New Year’s Eve we were standing on stage celebrating the goodness of God and the blessings of 2014 and ushering in the New Year with Praise and Worship. But at 11:50, it was time to hit our knees, put our faces to the ground, bow to the one who created the heavens and the earth, and welcome in a new year. A new start. A new season.

Okay, I have rambled long enough, but going into the New Year, here are three things I want to encourage each of you to do…

  • Welcome change. It’s coming to your life, maybe in a small way, maybe in a big way. But know, if you are a child of God your steps are ordered by HIM! It’s time we welcome change. Get excited about change! Know that when God is in control of your life, change is refreshing! It looks different, smells different, and feels different! It allows for new opportunities that once didn’t exist.

  • Allow people to change. I think because we despise change so much, it’s hard to conceive that people can actually change. This has truly been hard for me. I have had to look at people that have ran our names through the dirt, spread lies, and falsely accused us, and say, I forgive you AND I believe that you have the potential to do right and be better. That has been hard for me. But this year, I’m giving people room to change, room to improve, and room to grow.

  • The last thing has been inspired by a great actor. He tweeted the following on New Year’s Eve…“2015: Treat each person this year as the most cherished part of yourself. Let them be a reflection of your beauty.”

Treat people as the most cherished part of myself?? That’s really unheard of! But the more I pondered it, the more I came to the realization that everyone…my friends, my family, my enemies…they all carry something similar to me. Find that in people, the best in people. Choose love, choose life, and allow change in 2015.

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