We stand on the threshold ready to enter a new year, and that means leaving the old year behind. Many, perhaps most of us, are more than eager to say goodbye to 2020. We had no idea what the year would bring, but here's the deal. We never know what the new year will bring. It is always uncertain, unknown.
Now is the perfect time--during these last days of December and first days of January--to pause and reflect on the lessons learned and maybe even open to the gifts gained during the last months.
times when it all seems impossibly hard. To make
that manageable, we just have to remember that our
present will one day become a past, and our future
will be our present. We know that because it's happened
before. The things we put behind us will often come around
again. The things that trouble us now will one day be past
Wintering, The Power of Rest and Retreat in
Difficult Times by Katherine May, p. 239
Therefore, I invite you to pull up a chair into the silence and have a closing conversation with 2020. Get out your journal. Perhaps start a new one. Be with a trusted friend, loved one, or your spiritual director --someone who will listen and help you sort through and uncover what you most need to know, in order to move forward into the new year.
Here are some key questions to consider or statements to complete as you consider the past year:
1. When I think about the past year, I...
2. The most challenging part of 2020 for me was....
3. What/who saved my life in the last year? What worked for me in the past year?
4. Where did I notice the movement of God in my life? And how did I grow because of my awareness of God's presence?
5. Who were the wise ones, my companions, in my life and what did they reveal to me?
6. In what ways was I a wise one to someone else?
7. What spiritual practices supported me during the year?
8. What surprised me about my response to the challenge of the year?
I read somewhere that each of the first twelve days in January represents one month of the coming year. In other words the first day stands for January, the second for February, and so on. And, of course, we are still in the Christmas season as we move towards Epiphany and the arrival of the Wise Men (I prefer to think there were Wise Women, too). In both cases there is an invitation to think about what we offer the new year, what we bring into the new year.
What is the gold, frankincense, and myrrh you carry with you?
How can I strengthen my relationship with the Holy One? What spiritual practices could enhance that relationship?
What calls to me?
What is at the heart of my new year's prayer?
You may notice that I have not used the word "resolutions." You may have specific steps in mind to improve the quality of your life, and I wish you good luck with those, but instead, envision your intentions. I love these suggestions from Elle Harris.
Look for opportunity.
Discover something new.
Let go of something.
Walk with hope.
Fall into wonder.
What a wonderful year 2021 could be, no matter what we face, if we open ourselves to God's enfolding love as we live into these intentions.
to live deeply, with purpose,
to live wisely, with humility,
to live lovingly, with fidelity,
to live gratefully, with generosity,
to live freely, with detachment,
to live justly, with compassion,
to live mindfully, with awareness,
to live fully, with enthusiasm.
Help me to hold this vision and to daily renew it in
my heart, becoming ever more one with you,
my truest Self.