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As I began this year, I had a moment of reflection as we all do when time gives us a clean slate, or at the very least, turns the page for a new chapter. I thought of unfinished business from last year, failures, disappointments and let downs, as well as accomplishments, joys, loving moments and milestones. Then... I thought of plans, goals, hopes and dreams for this year. Somewhere in the middle of the road of "Auld Lang Syne," an old Hebrew tradition of Bible days came to my mind.

The Israelites had a certain year in their calendar called the "Year of Jubilee." It involved a year of release from indebtedness and all types of bondage. All prisoners and captives were set free, all slaves were released, all debts were forgiven, and all property was returned to its original owners. In addition, all labor was to cease for one year, and those bound by labor contracts were released from them. One of the benefits of the Jubilee was that both the land and the people were able to rest. The Jubilee was used in scripture as a picture of redemption and forgiveness.

Being reminded of all those things that weighed me down from last year and all those things that were tugging at me in the New Year, the thought of "Jubilee" was quite liberating! What if I could set free all those mistakes of my own from last year? What if I could forgive the debt of wrongdoing and let downs by others? What if I could cease from planting seeds of doubt, not allow the roots of hurt and anger grow and let the soil of my heart rest? What if I could break the chains of failure from last year so that I could be free to come home to my hopes and dreams again?

The thought of a "Year of Jubilee" is more than a New Year's resolution, it is a willful act of letting go and letting be. If a New Year can give us a clean slate and a fresh start, if the seasons can cause old things to die and new things to grow, then why can't we do the same? I want this year to be my year of JUBILEE! I want it to be a year that I am free to love those in my life without memories or disappointments of yesterday. I want it to be a year, when the ways I fell short last year are broken chains left in the past. Some things can't be changed - let them go! Other things can't be rushed, let them be! Give it a rest! Hold tight to the treasures of your heart. They have been redeemed through forgiveness! You are forgiven so forgive yourself and forgive others! Then watch and see what this year of JUBILEE will bring!

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