Written by Matthew Henson

In the village of Sobier in Haiti, a person can stand at the edge of the village and look down on the greenish-blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The beauty of the refreshing waters invites us to make the trek from the village down to the water. It is about a 1,000-foot elevation change.

This reminds me of the New Year. We stand at a precipice where we can see the past year, while looking forward to the path ahead of us, inviting us to new experiences. We do not know the experiences we will have in the New Year. Just like the path to the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, we cannot see the twists and turns, the green grass and rocky terrain, and the places where we will need a trusted companion to help us through. In the New Year, we are invited to step in faith into the unknown of a New Year with a hope and a plan.

For several years, I have left aside the forming of New Year’s Resolutions. I still make plans and goals for the New Year, but I come at the planning in a different way. I choose to focus on three words for the New Year. These words often overlap and intertwine with one another where they form a foundation for my planning. In the past some of those words have been: Intentional, Fitness, Adventure, Discipline, Less, Contentment, Connect, etc. I then spend a week or so writing how I will use these words to focus my life in the New Year. Like standing at the precipice of the mountain, I look at how these words will serve to guide me through the twists and turns of the New Year when times are celebratory, and times are difficult. I also look at how these words will guide me through the level (might I say “normal”) times of the year when life is traveling smoothly along.

As we approach 2024, I wonder what word or words you might use to bring intention, focus, clarity, and purpose to what you want to create in your life in 2024. How is the Lord leading you to a word or words that will be a guide you into the New Year?

Over the next four weeks, different leaders from the United Christian Ashrams International Ministry will share their “Word for the Year.” We would enjoy having you share your Word(s) for the Year if this is a regimen you would undertake. You can share your Word for the Year to Lisa Chandler (uca@christianashram.org).

It is our prayer that God will bless you in the New Year.


Prayer: Thank you, Lord for 2023 and the blessings we received. There were difficult times, and we are grateful for your comfort, strength, and provisions. As we stand at the precipice of a New Year, focus our attention on you. We pray in this New Year we will grow in our relationship with you and with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.