Many times, at the threshold of a new year, we’re thinking about what we want. The things we wish to accomplish and acquire are at the forefront of our minds. Yet what if at the center of these desires, as if acting as an axis, was the concept of contentment? Gratitude for what we have and the work God is doing within us can compel us toward every good thing in this coming year. James 1:17 promises, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Although the circumstances of our lives shift and change, our heavenly Father does not — and He has great things for us this coming year!
Often, recognizing God’s blessings is a practice of slowing down and honing our attention and observation skills. His gifts are plentiful and all around us! As we learn to take life slower, we receive and cherish all He has for us.
In Denmark and Norway, a cultural practice does well to capture this concept of rest, and this season of entering into a new year is the perfect time for its implementation! The practice of “Hygge” is a time set aside for slowing down and making one’s home cozy and comfortable. It’s a time of intentional gathering, fellowship, and enjoyment of the simple things in life. Contentment replenishes our spirits as we remember and return to what we value but struggle to prioritize.
The word “Hygge” means “comfort” or “console,” and this is precisely what God longs to do within our busy, over-extended, and weary souls. Hygge can be our practice of abiding in His most profound rest, and it can set the pace for our days, years, and lifetime.
Whether or not you set goals or a vision for the New Year, begin with a list not of what you want, but what you have and what you see God doing. Reflect on the past year, including every hardship, and write out the specific ways you’ve seen God carry you through, provide, and make a way where there seemed to be no way. Write each milestone, blessing, and opportunity you’ve seen Him place in your path. Once you have your list, take time to thank Him for this past year and commit the coming year to Him, thanking our faithful Father in advance for the work He will do. Let the only request in your prayer be one for deep and abiding contentment in the coming year.
Music has a unique ability to create a calm culture within the walls of our homes. Chosen intentionally, the music we set to the background of our days can bring incredible power and profound peace to our families. Whatever time your family spends at home, stream the powerfully peaceful music of Scripture Lullabies and hide God’s Word in their hearts, equipping your family with God’s truth and promises for whatever the day ahead might bring.
Our need for rest does not stem from a point of weakness. Although broken and imperfect as our bodies are and in need of regular sleep, our aptitude for rest actually reflects our Creator and our design in His image. When God finished with His work of creation, He rested, setting us an example for a life lived well. As we begin from a place of soul rest, we receive His incredible strength, guidance, and peace for moving forward. Resting in Christ, He sets the pace for our days. This year, write down three simple habits to punctuate your days with rest. Consider spending ten minutes upon waking in simple silence. Before reading, writing, or working, sit with God and let Him arrange your heart and mind for the coming day. You might set a timer as a reminder to stop and spend a few moments in prayer twice a day. In the evenings, consider a set time to put devices away, turn off screens, turn lights low, light candles, and create a cozy place of respite in your home. This season can be a sweet hibernation for the body, mind, and soul.
Every dawn and dusk, God gifts us with an incredible display of His creativity and power. Across the sky, colors and shapes splash a vivid reflection of His majesty. Setting aside time to watch these displays of splendor does incredible work in our souls. Considering the sunrise and sunset, we remember we have a God of intricate creativity who is at work in our lives. He who is outside time uses our limited hours to align our lives within His boundaries of blessing. He knows the number of our days — how many sunrises and sunsets mark the pages of our lives — and He has a plan for the hours held within each rotation of the earth. May we take more time this coming year to focus on God’s creation and its never-rushed pace, and ever-consistent cadence. We can declare with Psalm 19:1-2, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” May we glean from the language of the sunrise and sunset wisdom for days and how we spend them.
If we resolve to do anything this year, may we first determine to live a life led by contentment and at a restful pace. Despite how busy our lives can be, may we pare back and take time to consider our values, and the speed God would have us live by. In all we do, may we live by God’s power, at His pace, and for His purposes.