As we enter a new year full of possibilities, it’s a great time to look beyond mere resolutions and consider a perspective rooted in theological thinking.
In a world with choices and uncertainties, individuals often seek guidance to make decisions aligned with their values and beliefs. For Christians, our faith serves as a compass, providing a moral and biblical foundation for making decisions. Howard W. Stone, co-author of How to Think Theologically, emphasizes that “Theology is a seeking after understanding – a process of thinking about life in the light of the faith that Christians engage in…” He asserts the Christian faith is both a gift from God and a human response, with theology playing a crucial role in that response. Thus, every Christian, without exception, is essentially a theologian.
As Christians, it is crucial to infuse our journey into the new year with depth and purpose. Here’s how you can achieve that:
Reflect on Core Beliefs for New Beginnings
Begin the year by reflecting on your core beliefs and values, such as, love, compassion, forgiveness, humility, justice, and the pursuit of wisdom. Consider how these principles can shape the new experiences that await you. Theological thinking invites us to set intentions aligned with our fundamental beliefs, providing a strong foundation for the chapters yet to unfold.
Draw Wisdom from Time-Honored Convictions
In the pursuit of personal growth and understanding, draw wisdom from time-honored traditions. This means a responsible theologian is guided by deliberations on the historical themes of faith, by Scripture and tradition, by worship, and by engaged service in the world. Incorporating these timeless principles into your goals for the new year adds depth and a sense of connection to your journey.
Cultivate Gratitude and Compassion in 365 Days
Make gratitude and compassion your steadfast companions throughout the year. Integrate moments of gratitude into your daily routine, acknowledging the blessings, big or small. Show compassion to others, build meaningful connections, and play a part in creating a more empathetic world. Theological thinking encourages a mindset that transcends the self, enhancing the richness of your experiences.
Drifting Away in the Midst of New Year’s Resolutions
Amidst the excitement of New Year resolutions, the risk of drifting away from a theological grounding is ever-present. Resolutions driven solely by fleeting trends, like following popular diets or fitness fads, may lack the enduring strength needed for lasting change. Instead, consider resolutions grounded in sustainable practices, such as cultivating healthy habits, fostering meaningful relationships, or prioritizing personal growth. These enduring resolutions are more likely to lead to long-term positive transformation. Theological thinking serves as a guiding light, ensuring that your aspirations align with your core values, resulting in meaningful and sustainable growth.
In this new year, let theological reflection guide your path. By reflecting on core beliefs, drawing wisdom from traditions, and cultivating gratitude and compassion, you can infuse each day with purpose and depth. As the calendar turns, may your journey be guided by enduring principles, creating a year filled with meaningful connections, personal growth, and a sense of fulfillment. Happy New Year!
 Stone, Howard W., Duke, James O. How to Think Theologically. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2023.