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I said them.  You said them.  I'm sure we all said them.  Three simple words that everyone seems to exchange as the clock moves from one minute to the next, and we turn over the calendar page.  "Happy New Year!"

These three small words are not complicated in nature.  They are a simple gesture that indicate our desire for one another to enjoy the year to come.  Simple, sure.  Hopeful, maybe.  Realistic? Not likely.

A year of happiness sounds like a nice sentiment.  As we set our resolutions and make promises to ourselves about the new activity we will start, or the old habit we will quit, it is quite likely that our pursuit of happiness guides our resolve.  But happiness is an elusive goal.  Somedays, happiness seems as shallow as a kiddie pool.  There are moments that are before us this year in which happiness may even be inappropriate. 

I want to suggest a different set of words.  Still three small words.  Still simple in their intent.  Still offered to all we meet, though admitedly, that offering will be what requires our resolve.  What if we offered to those we match eyes with a new year greeting that declares "I love you." 

Say what? 

What if we truly set out into this new year with one goal - to be more loving.  I want to think about what it would look like if the one thing we set out to acheive this year was to meet others with an attitude of love. Consider what the loving thing to do in each moment looks like, and then to do it.  Think of the one thing we could offer to a converstaion that would assure someone they are loved, and then say it.  Enter into each encounter with people we know, and especially those we don't yet know, with the understanding that they will be met by you with love. 

To all we greet, we offer three small words, even if unspoken, "I love you." It is not something anyone has earned and it is not something anyone deserved.  It is not even about anyone else. This is about who we choose to be.  This year, let us choose to be made into those who love. 

"I love you!" Simple, sure. Hopeful, maybe.  Realistic? More realistic than a Happy New Year.

"God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." 1John 4:16b