Tuesday, January 4, 2011

12 year old wishes God HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This morning I heard from a mom whose 12 year old was saying her prayers on New Year’s night: She started her prayers like she usually does, “Dear God, thank you for this day…” And then she said, “Oh! And Happy New Year to you!” She went on to thank God for many things of 2010, and prayed for 2011. Later on she asked me if it was weird to wish God a Happy New Year. I thought about it and told her that I thought God appreciated it – that she would take the time to tell Him that. But what was really neat is that we talked about what would make for a “happy new year” for God. That is, what would make God’s 2011 really happy, and what could we do about it?

She went on to share what I seemed to notice this year: we say “Happy New Year,” and it’s a simple seasonally-appropriate greeting, not much more. We don’t exactly commit ourselves to helping the receiver actually have a Happy New Year. But the mother-daughter conversation raises a lovely question: what would it mean for us to commit to help 2011 be a “happy” year for God?

It’s easy to say Oh, it’s God, God is infinite, omniscient, ineffable, cradling the entire universe in omnipotent care: does it make sense to think we might make God “happy” or “unhappy”? Yet the Bible’s best insight, one shared by Christians for 2000 years, is that God is all heart, God feels even more than we do, and it’s quite personal with each one of us: we have the capacity to delight God’s soul, or to break God’s heart. This delight or heartbreak happens when we make big decisions, or small decisions, when something just happens to us or we think we are in control of things.
The fascinating quirk in this is: when we break God’s heart, our own hearts feel hollow, or thin, or even vaguely sad; and when we delight God’s soul, when we make God happy, then – and only then! – we discover that we really are happy, or even joyful.
2011 is here: Happy New Year – to you, O God? Here’s a New Year’s resolution: I will pray, and try hard, and trust beyond what I’m capable of, that 2011 is a year in which my thoughts, words, deeds, lifestyle and big and little decisions bring happiness to the heart of God.
Revival2011 is upon us. January 9, 7pm, kicks off 15 days of what I dream of being a significant beginning to us making God – and ourselves – happy in 2011, and beyond.