How to See God in a New Year

I have been mulling over my word for this New Year, waiting for an epiphany. Last year it was Faith, the year before Mercy. Those words chose me.

And so I’ve waited and pondered. Do I choose what I hope to see or do or what I am or was? Or maybe I just skip it this year… Can my word be Tired? 

But then in a dark, unlikely place, my word for 2013 found me.

I sat in the movie theater, my sister on one side, my husband on the other. I held my breath at the beauty of Les Miserables on the screen. I’ve heard about this musical my entire life, whispers from Broadway and floating notes from memorable music, but I wasn’t expecting to feel this remarkable story of redemption, grace, adoption so deeply.

I’m not the typical fan of musicals. I prefer talking to singing any day. I also rarely recommend movies.


This epic love story is my redemption story, It’s for every broken person. And whether you read it, see it, or sing it, it’s a story for you.

As I watched a criminal find healing and hope by loving an orphaned child, and as he gave selflessly to her his entire life, I gripped my seat. And then these words found me:

“To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God” – Les Miserables

The truth pierced my heart and in that dark theater with buttered popcorn abounding, I cried.

Because I realized this: The greatest moments in my life have come from loving others. It’s tenderly caring my sick child, selflessly giving to my husband, sponsoring one more child, giving one more dollar to help, making one more meal for another, befriending one more lonely person…

This is when I have seen God.

But I don’t always choose love. Some days I ignore the prodding and I push away the appeal to love. I am selfish and lazy and more human than I want to admit.

I long to see Him, to know Him and loving others is the pathway to God.

My word for 2013 is love.

It’s perhaps the most common word, confused with lust, tangled with like. But to love , to sell your hair or a tooth to feed your hungry child, to take a dying mother’s baby as your own, to offer grace to someone who deserves condemning, to hold your tongue with your spouse, offer grace to your wayward child, to give away money to support someone in need, to love another more than you love yourself, this will lead you to God every time.

I often ignore opportunities to love, to speak softly to my kids, listen closer to my husband, reach out to a hurting friend.

But I’m choosing Love more often.

It’s how we will find God in this New Year.


  1. 1

    tonya says

    your words speak love to my heart every time i read them….thank you! thank you for sharing. thank you for being honest. thank you for listening to god. thank you for saying yes to what he’s asked of you. thank you for offering hope and light and love to my weary soul.

  2. 5

    TEN says

    A great choice. The priest who married my best friend and, two year later, my sister, would use this quote from Les Mis. I didn’t realize until rcently that it is a quote from Victor Hugo, not just part of the song.

    I believe that the quote is “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

  3. 9


    Oh so perfect! I love — love!
    And, you said it so well!

    It’s amazing how GOD WORKS!! When or where we least expect it…..Les Mis is a must see, blow you away movie! It will do a number on your heart, guaranteed!

  4. 10

    Heather S. says

    Desperately wanting to see Les Mis. My husband agreed to go with me. Now we need to pick a time and get some childcare. :)
    *Love* your word choice. Because really – it is the great commandment. Love God. Love People. We could all use more love, but Kristen, you are doing it well. :)

  5. 11


    I’m so glad you posted about this. I too am not a fan of musicals. I saw all the hype over Les Miserables and thought I’d save my money. After seeing your recommendation, I may just go see it!

  6. 12


    I love the way you describe it – and how the WORD found you – and will hopefully direct all your actions this year.
    Your post encouraged me to write about my word –
    Many blessings!

  7. 14


    Well, what do you know! Love is my word for 2013, too! “Focus on Love” is my specific phrase. Can’t wait to see where God leads us this year!

  8. 15

    Heather E. says

    My word last year was JOY but this year the word LOVE found me too. The servant-hood, love your husband and family as a verb kind of love. I need to get a canvas soon and get the word up on my wall. :) Thanks for always being so honest and open.

  9. 16


    I think my word for this year needs to be “THANKFUL.” My hubby and I have had 4 miscarriages in the last few years and it’s stolen my joy. I want this year to be different. I want to be thankful for the children I do have, not upset about the ones I don’t.

  10. 17

    Jennifer says

    I LOVE how this years word found you. I just saw Les Mis with my daughter, I thought I kinda knew the story but I was blown away. It was outstanding and as we all are broken people it really hit home. I plan to go see it a second time if I am able before it leaves our theater.

  11. 18


    Love this! I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet, but my word for 2013 is “love” as well. And like you, God gave it to me. I had a list of several I was considering and “love” wasn’t even on it, when God just whispered it into my spirit :)

  12. 20

    Bec from Melbourne says

    Can my word be tired? Ha ha ha ha. Awesome. Love reading your thoughts.
    That Les Mis movie was just spectacular. A giant sermon illustration. Sobbed audibly through “I Dreamed a Dream”.

  13. 21

    Nichole says

    While I have followed your blog for awhile now….your post found ME today.
    I would have perhaps looked at it by but for some unknown reason it was a highlighted star….a unread, yet new post already favorited for me. So I read and teared up. As I struggle with decisions I need to make right now your post spoke to me. Yes, Love truly needs to be the word for me this year. I need to value and love others, husband, kids, students, myself. Probably in that order…but I need to bring it to the forefront of what I do everyday, not as a afterthought or a after I get [other thing] done. I guess the Beatles were right….all you need is love.

  14. 22


    I was so surprised by how much I LOVED Les Mis. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to see it. I’m so happy that we did. It was beautiful…and I felt the same way. So incredibly moved. I saw it on Broadway years ago and now would love to go back.

    Love. I think you chose well. Although, “tired” works, too. 😉

  15. 23


    My word found me this year too–I took your old one–“faith.” My turn to have some and hope it grows! God took me to Kenya last year too–now let’s see if He shows me why…and if I have faith enough to follow where He leads!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>