Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:15-21

The Year 2012 started quietly as we welcomed in the New Year watching over our sleeping grand daughter as her parents went out for a bit of fun. I have never been one to celebrate with elaborate parties, rather I enjoy quietly observing the passage of the year, like watching a sun set slowly into the horizon. I have great hopes for this new year. We had a lot of losses and hurts last year, but we also became grand parents for the first time - an amazing gift. I prayed for my children and their beloveds last night, and all my friends and relatives, known and unknown. And I prayed for all the people I will be blessed to meet this year. I prayed the new year in, asking God to bless us all with joy and gratitude and a new sense of commitment.

Mary watched as the shepherds arrived, and the stories they told amazed her. She knew her life was blessed and she had also suffered greatly already to carry this remarkable child. She was young and vulnerable and surrounded with all sorts of strangers, and complicated circumstances, and she had to figure this all out on her own. Her mother and family were elsewhere. And yet, God found ways to remind her and demonstrate to her that all of her losses were the world's gain, and all of her challenges would be covered with a multitude of blessings. We are invited by God, as we face this new year together, to expect that whatever challenges we face will be overshadowed by a multitude of blessings.

Today, I want to be joyful in every moment, living with the knowledge that God is overwhelming us with blessings, despite the challenges and hardships we might face. May we be blessings to those who hurt around us, may we be joy in the midst of sadness, light where there has been only darkness and tender where there has been only fear. May God use each of us this year as agent of blessing, bringing light in the darkness and love to a hurting world.

Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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