Holidays: Starting Fresh in 2021

Holidays at Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Josh Boot

Starting Fresh in 2021

Is that even possible after 2020?

by Joanne Troppello

The year of 2020 was a bad year for the world. As we start fresh on January 1, 2021, can we even hope that this year will be better than 2020?

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This verse seems very appropriate for today’s culture. What is right is now viewed as wrong. We’re living in an upside-down world. However, as a Christian, we shouldn’t be surprised. This is a fallen world—one fueled by people’s sinful desires. No wonder it’s a mess.

I don’t know if 2021 will be better than 2020. I hope so. Yet, just because we moved one day from 2020 to 2021, that doesn’t mean that everything about last year will be magically transformed back to “normal”. I have a feeling things won’t get back to normal any time soon.

Living for the Lord

In my article, Holidays: Finding a New Voice for 2021 – Putting God First in This New Year, which was published here yesterday, I shared four ways to put God first in the new year.

  • Seek God’s Kingdom

  • Don’t Give Up Your Crown

  • See with Heaven’s Eyes

  • Pray Without Ceasing

In starting fresh in 2021, there are several steps you can take as you implement those four ways to put God first this year.

1. Read the Bible

One way to serve the Lord and seek His Kingdom is to read the Bible. I admit that sometimes I get off track with my daily Bible reading time. However, I have made a commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day when I get up in the morning to read through a passage of scripture. I usually read through verses that our Pastor discussed in his sermon on Sunday so I can review what I learned at church and cement those truths deeper in my heart and soul.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews: 4:12 (NKJV)

Set the time that’s best for you to read the Word, whether in the morning, at night, or during the day. Make sure it’s during a time when you are in the best mindset to receive the truths you’re reading about.

2. Serve Others

Serving others is another way to put God first in your life in 2021. Whether you’re serving others in church as a greeter, usher, or helping out with the children or youth ministry—or serving others in the community—you’re following God’s will for your life.

“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 (NKJV)

When you serve others, that can lift you up from the difficult circumstances you’re going through because it takes your mind off of you and onto someone else. There is a reason God wants us to serve others. It helps us and the person we’re serving.

3. Walk in Love

Walking in love is not easy. I will not pretend that it is. This is especially true when God calls us to love the unlovable neighbor, family member, or individual you encounter online.

“Let all that you do be done with love.” – I Corinthians 16:14 (NKJV)

Yes, we will mess up. We’re human and no one here is perfect. However, we need to try our best to do everything with love. It’s only with the power of the Holy Spirit that I can love people who are mean or vindictive or get on my last nerve. This year has been a humbling experience for me to realize more and more that my life is the Lord’s and I want to live it for Him. I’ve been a Christian for a long time and loving others is something God has been working on me to do better.

4. Develop Your Prayer Life

Prayer is essential to starting fresh in 2021. I have always loved to pray. I’m not sure why, but maybe because I love how I can communicate with the Lord. I view it as a special blessing, and it has been a huge comfort to me throughout my Christian walk.

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” – Mark 11:23-26 (NKJV)

I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have the Lord in my life. I love my family. I love that I get to write each day. Yet, I love the Lord more than anything. He is my everything in life. The same way my love for my husband has grown deeper in our 16 years of marriage, is similar to how my love for the Lord has grown in the 32 years that I’ve been saved.

I wrote the following poem years ago, yet I believe it can apply to our goal of starting fresh in 2021 as we focus on serving the Lord and living for Him in every aspect of our lives.

One Man’s Vision

Vision on a hill

A city on the hill,

walled to protect.

A man with a vision,

his twelve to carry

out the work.

Knights sitting at the

table round.

The king mighty,

Yet with a mind

for the people.

In serving each other

we become free,

inscribed round the

table, a testament

to his message.

The king and his men on

a mission of unity,

peace, and a land filled

with milk and honey.

The vision deterred by a

fallen knight,

only to come alive at

the king’s death.

Long live the king,

sailing away

to the Lady of the Lake.

Camelot, sweet Camelot,

one man’s vision

on a hill.

© Joanne Troppello

What are you planning to do in 2021 to have a fresh start?


About the Author

Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel