Happy New Year! As I write that, I am mindful of how easily that can roll off someone’s tongue and how much it can miss the mark of the reality that many are living. Last year, many people wished me a happy new year. But neither they nor I had any idea of the unexpected challenges, grief and loss that would come in 2012. Likewise, when I wish people happy new year now – we have no idea what lies ahead of us. Some of us are struggling – spiritually, emotionally, financially, relationally ….. and some of us are doing that in great isolation. Happy new year? Well maybe not a superficial hallmark greeting …. but as people of faith we do extend confident prayers for one another that the new year will be blessed.
We have a tradition at my church of praying over the calendar at our New Year’s day service. We talk together about some of the things that are likely to happen in the months ahead, but mainly we simply consecrate each day of the year to God in the knowledge that so many unexpected things may happen. As a community, when difficult things happen, it is not uncommon to remind each other, “Remember, we consecrated this day to God.” We live, as a community, in the remembrance that we serve Emmanuel – God with us. We live in the knowledge that God enters and exits each day with us.