Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Crossing the Threshold into the New Year

It's almost here. We made it, and the new year is almost here. 

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. 

           There are times when everything seems easy, and
           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
           history. Each time we endure the cycle, we ratchet up a notch. 
           We learn from the last time around, and we do a few things 
           better this time, we develop tricks of the mind to see us through.
           This is how progress is made.
                                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.

                            Chase kindness.

                            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.

                Faithful Companion, in this new year I pray:
                        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.
                                            Joyce Rupp

An Invitation
What are your thoughts as you stand on the threshold of the new year? I would love to know.

NOTE: I have prepared a very simple guide, "Crossing the Threshold into the New Year." If you would like a PDF, send me an email, nagneberg48@gmail.com and I will forward to you. 

Watch for my first post in the new year when I list my favorite books of 2020. 

                            Happy New Year!






  1. Wonderful journaling questions as we head into another new year. I am going to use some of your questions - thank you. I recently read Wintering and while I wasn't thrilled with the book on the whole, there were some interesting passages, such as the one you posted.

    I'll be sending you an email so that you can send me the PDF. Blessings to you for the coming year!

  2. Love this. Good questions to ask myself. Thank you!


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