And a New Year Begins …
“It has been the interruptions to everyday life which have most revealed the divine mystery of which I am a part, all these interruptions presented themselves as opportunities to go beyond the normal patterns of daily life and find deeper connections than the previous safety of my physical, emotional and spiritual well being.” Henri Nouwen
I lay in bed this morning in a reflective mood. It was time to get up, but it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m resolved to take it as more of a holiday than as a regular work day. So I lay there remembering 2008 and wondering what profound insights might be drawn from having experienced it! And where and how in Heaven’s name did it go so quickly?
I’m not sure I have any profound insights to offer. I’ll leave those for others. But it seems to me that 2008 will be remembered as a time both of great changes and of much that remains the same.
I’m sure you’re all bored to death of lists of wars, disasters, financial upheavals, political scandals and the like. We’re all aware of the historic election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. We have high hopes that with the new year, solutions will be found to begin to refocus world economies and reverse the economic declines we’ve experienced. And thus we see the beginning of hope again – a hope that seems to come with the dawing of each new year – things will be better this year!
In our personal lives, people will be born, people will die. Some will get married, some marriages will fail and the spouses will be left to grieve and grow through it. Some will have steady work, others will find their jobs transitory at best. Children will continue to grow up. We’ll each move a year closer to being the older generation – hopefully growing wiser along the way.
And in the midst of it, we’ll have the surprises. A deck will need to be repaired unexpectedly, and friends will step in to help fix it. An appliance will reach the end of its useful life (as in it’ll just plain quit working!) and someone else will have one for which they need to find a home. An unexpected bill will arrive in the mail and funds will show up from somewhere else that make it possible to make ends meet anyway.
I think of this as God’s “just in time financing” and find myself counting on it often – something to do with “Give us this day our daily bread.”
I can’t promise the new year will be easy. I know it will be challenging. We’re in a major world-wide recession, after all. But I know that with God’s help we’ll get through it. We can’t solve it by having another world war – that’s not an option. We can solve it by looking out for each other, offering a caring hand, recognizing that we’re all in this together (even across national boundaries) and trusting God to soften our hearts and open our eyes to help each other through our days. In the end, hope is the gift we receive and can offer to each other. God is with us. God has become one of us. God lives and works through each of us.
May the blessings of the Christmas season be with you through the coming year and may you see God’s loving hand reaching out and touching you through all the ups and downs, all the interruptions and surprises of this New Year.