New Year, Now What?

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

As the old year rounded into a new one, my social media was pretty evenly divided. On the one side were notices about the perfect diet, the easiest fitness program, the most successful spiritual practices. The other side reminded me that I am perfect exactly as I am, and that God loves me even if I didn’t commit to a new way of eating, exercising or praying in the new year.

I didn’t find many posts that came down where I am: in the middle. On the one hand, I rely heavily, and I mean extremely heavily, on God’s grace. The faith that God meets me where and how I am is what gets me through most days.

On the other hand, the secular New Year’s Day and the church’s season of Epiphany are not, for me, just arbitrary dates on the calendar. Our natural rhythms are connected to the movement of the seasons. In the northern part of the northern hemisphere where I live, winter’s sleepy hibernation thaws slowly but inevitably into spring’s generative energy. I feel a difference in my body and my spirit during this time, a yearning to let go of the shadows of the past and lean into the light. And sometimes that means changing stagnant patterns of behavior that have gotten me through the past year.

So in the new year, I awaken each day, as always, to the prayer that Christ will receive me just as I am. And I also embrace the new energy of the new year, and enjoy (for as long as they last), the new year’s endeavors.

Holy God, you know how each one of my days will unfold. Help me to find you anew in each new day, no matter what else I have resolved. Amen.