A New List for the New Year


Those series of words or names or items…that are written or printed or imagined…that feature one after another after another after another…of whatever is being listed.


Some people can’t live without them. Other people can’t live with them.


They can organize us, inspire us, remind us, dare us, tempt us, annoy us, frustrate us, haunt us, plague us or even consume us.

Ultimately, our lists define who we are. The lists that we maintain–on pieces of paper, in our computers or on our phones–identify who is important to us and classify what is important to us.

Think about it. Who was on your Christmas gift list? What is on your “bucket list” (i.e., wish list) of activities to do and places to go before you breathe your final earthly breath?

Our lists define us.

In 1977, David Wallenchinsky published the first of several Book of Lists. Each of his Book of Lists contains hundreds of lists of unique, obscure or outright bizarre topics. For example, the first edition of Wallenchinsky’s Book of Lists contains lists of:

1. Worst places in the United States to hitchhike
2. People who were misquoted by Ronald Reagan during his presidency
3. Breeds of dogs that bite people the most…and that bite people the least


In Holy Scripture, the Old Testament records hundreds of lists: of divine Commandments, of purification rites, of sacrificial specifications. In the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth tells more stories than he declares lists. In his epistles, the Apostle Paul is prone to give lists, as with his list of spiritual gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

In the New Year, some may make a list of New Year resolutions of how they aspire to live differently in 2015. Most of us, however, will not undertake such a personal mission.

Even so, for your consideration and application, I offer you a new list. I offer you a pick-and-choose “To-Do List for the New Year.”

Personal To-Do List

1. To love with all that I have;
2. To grow up;
3. To grow older, gracefully, without allowing my soul to get rusty;
4. To receive gifts and appreciate them;
5. To give gifts and forget that I gave them;
6. To thank God for sharing miracles with me;
7. To choose to feel joy whether in a child’s smile, a morning’s sunrise or an afternoon’s rainbow;
8. To have and to hold tenderly;
9. To lose and to cherish the memories, just as tenderly;
10. To listen and to tell;
11. To confide and to trust;
12. To laugh heartily and to weep deeply;
13. To be still;
14. To think and to ponder;
15. To study and to improve;
16. To initiate and to change;
17. To learn how to walk in and when to walk out;
18. To stand up after a fall;
19. To be fearless;
20. To live…with boldness and without regret.

A lofty list? Perhaps.

A plausible list? Definitely.

Select one or two from the list. Or five or ten. Or even all twenty.

A New Year’s offering: Remove this 20-point list from this newsletter. Mark or highlight what you want or aspire to do in the New Year. Keep this list handy. Attach it to a mirror or a refrigerator. Or place it in a Bible that you read daily.

Some can’t live without a list. Some can’t live with a list.

May you live by this list. A new list for the New Year.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara