CATHARSIS (n): the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions*
Like throwing away an old calendar and replacing it with a brand-new, clean, shiny one for a brand-new, clean, shiny year.
There’s something so purifying about January 1. It’s a reminder that God never stops working; He’s always up to something new. In the words of a class I took recently, “God’s reign invokes newness: new creation, new covenant, new self, new heart, new heaven, new earth, new song, new name, and new story. His desire is to make everything new.”
And every 365 days, a new year.
Let’s kick off this twirling trip around the sun with a few timely gifts, hm? Reminders of what God—never changing, always set on new—might be up to around us.
Some January gifts to point you toward
A Devotional Plan You’ll Actually Want to Do: Binder Co.
Originally called The Her Binder Project, Binder Co. is a free collection of monthly downloadable calendars with a Scripture and simple task for each day (like make a playlist or text a friend or journal a question). If you’re wanting to get into the Word regularly, this is a fabulous place to ease your way in. Start at the very beginning or pick a month’s theme you like and go from there. All you need is a binder and a printer.
Winter Concept: Hygge
So apparently the Danish have figured out a way to embrace the long dark months before spring, and it’s a fun word to say. I’ve found hygge really intriguing because it’s about getting cozy and creating an intentional home environment. It covers everything from food to friends to decor to clothing. Looking for a topic to read up on? This would be it. Just make sure you have a woolly blanket and hot beverage at the ready because comfort is key. (Need I say more?)
New Year’s Grace: Live with Wonder by Alia Joy
If you’re tired of being undone by resolutions, find some space here for your soul to breathe. I tried to find my favorite line of this post, but I couldn’t—it was all packed with profound beauty.
Unresolution: One Word 365
A common alternative to resolutions is to just pick one word. This website offers lots of possibilities, or you can choose your own. (Some of my personal favorites listed include celebrate, pause, uplift, release, and shine.) Get creative. Find anthems that include your word, do an in-depth Bible study about it, buy or make a piece of jewelry featuring it, whatever. Your word is a commitment to watching how God grows you over the next 365 days. (In case you’re curious, my word for the year is brave.)
Perfect Review Tool: 20+ Questions for a New Year by Tsh Oxenreider
This girl used her intentionality to create a really thoughtful map for looking back on the past year. (Bonus: she includes questions for kids, too, so you can get the whole family involved!) If you have a few minutes of downtime, I highly recommend journaling through it. The process of closing out a hard year well and opening a fresh chapter is, um, cathartic.