December 29, 2015 @ 5:23 PM

Elsie and I love to drive by our neighbors’ homes at Christmastime and see the bright, colorful lights they’ve put up. It’s a beautiful sight. One neighbor, in particular, goes all out. He has Christmas lights, figures, inflatables, and signs wishing all a Merry Christmas. I happened to drive past his house last year about the time he was setting things up in his yard and noticed his garage. Yikes! It was packed from floor to ceiling with stuff. There is no way he could have gotten a car in it.

I was reminded of him and his garage as I started cleaning out clothes, shoes, ties, and jackets from my closets. I don’t want to become like him so I’m donating all my old stuff to Goodwill. I don’t want to carry into 2016 what I never wore in 2015.  So, out with the old and in with the new.

This same principle of unpacking and tossing the old applies equally to the baggage in our lives. Sometimes we carry emotional junk in our lives from one year to the next without discarding it. We can become emotional “pack rats!” What does it look like to be an emotional pack rat?  It means nursing a grudge toward someone from one year to the next instead of forgiving and reconciling. It is becoming an angry, defensive person because someone hurt us in the past. It’s deciding that life is not worth living since someone we loved left. Whether it’s bitterness, anger, hatred, or  despair, it’s time to unpack your emotional baggage and get rid of it.

Goodwill doesn’t accept old emotional baggage but Jesus does! He’s the Wonderful Counselor and our Intercessor (Isaiah 9:6, Hebrew 7:25). He will receive our baggage, unpack it, heal our wounded hearts, and give us a clean slate and a fresh start.

Happy New Year, y’all! (We spent Thanksgiving in Nashville.)