New Year

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What is it about the flipping over of a calendar that creates within us the hope of something new coming?

We move from April to May, from September to October without any sense of new possibility being present, but when the calendar goes from December to January we have this somewhat existential tabula rasa moment that suggests that all past sins are wiped away, all bad habits are erased, and we can start over.

New Year’s resolutions are written that, within a few short weeks, bear witness to the fact that our level of resolve didn’t change that much from one day to the next. It becomes an annually acceptable exercise in futility.

And I love it.

Far too often, we’re too cynical to notice the freshness of God’s renewability. Concepts like grace, forgiveness, transformation, conversion all suggest the power of God to take something and make it new.

There may be something quirky and inappropriate about arbitrarily attaching such lofty hopes of transforming ourselves through the grace of God to a calendar year, but I say, “So what!”

Give in to the hope that something can be different.

Give in to the expectation that, come 2016, you are going to recreate yourself and be more healthy, more disciplined, more compassionate, more kind, more peaceful, more prayerful.

Give in to the possibility that you can start something that feels new and different.

Give in to the temptation to start something that will bring you new joy, and don’t feel like you have to invent an excuse to try it other than it will make you happy.

Behold, I am about to do a new thing. Do you not perceive it? Every January 1, we do perceive it. And then we don’t. Old habits often come back, despite our good efforts. I don’t mind that the calendar instills within us at least once a year an awakening to our potential for starting over and getting it right – or, at least righter.

This year, I’m going to take more time in prayerful solitude. I know, I’ve made that promise before. I’m making it again. I trust in the ever abiding presence of god’s redeeming and transformative love. It stirs something within me that I can’t ignore, and that keeps me every hopeful of a new me emerging.

Blessed traveler, be open to your new. Love your old. And may the love of God wrap you in a blanket of warm comfort as your take your journey into the Mystic. (417)

Categories: Column Into the Mystic

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