Generally, New Year’s Day is a day filled with eager anticipation & hope as we look forward to the opportunity for a fresh start & all the hidden events & opportunities that await us. In many ways however, I think we can all agree that the feeling this year as we step into the new year, is very different than in previous years, as fear, doubt, & dread fill the overcast skies.
The month of January marks the beginning of a new calendar year. Our calendars are currently filled with blank pages inviting us to fill the emptiness with recordings of the events & opportunities that we will experience day-by-day in the coming year. Generally, New Year’s Day is a day filled with eager anticipation & hope as we look forward to the opportunity for a fresh start & all the hidden events & opportunities that await us. In many ways however, I think we can all agree that the feeling this year as we step into the new year, is very different than in previous years, as fear, doubt, & dread fill the overcast skies.
Having just journeyed through the year 2020, I have to wonder what people wrote on their blank pages throughout the year. There is no doubt that 2020 was a very different year that challenged us all & changed the way we live. From early in the year & right up to the present moment, as we step into this new year, we lived & now are living in the darkness of pain & fear due to; the pandemic claiming thousands of lives, excessive political unrest, the resulting devastation of our economy, repeated displays of violence & injustice & dramatic climate changes including massive wildfires that destroyed miles of our environment, & floods & hurricanes that ravaged the land. We now carry these challenges with us into the New Year for all the challenges continue. Although a vaccine is at hand, many questions remain. I think it is safe to say, no one knows what is coming next as the virus surges seemingly out of control & the global unrest continues. As we look forward, the skies continue to seem overcast & hope & peace are fragile commodities. It is difficult to see or feel any light, hope or peace as we look forward at our empty calendars. Depression & hopelessness threaten to overtake us.
And yet, in spite of all the suffering that we have experienced & continueto experience at this time in our world, leading up to the News Years day celebration this year, somehow, we did find a way to pause at the manger to acknowledge the birth of our Lord for at least one day. In the spirit of longing for some sense of hope & peace, we were able to call to our memory the story of God’s sign to the earth in the Holy star that was so bright that it broke into the overcast skies guiding shepherds & kings to the manger. Abiding in the spirit of the Light, we paused from all the chaos & noise of our time, lifting up songs & prayers as we remembered, felt, & celebrated the hope, peace, joy & love of that Holy day in honor of God’s Holy gift. With our hearts re-awakened to the reality of God’s inclusive promise fulfilled in the Holy child, after pausing in the Holy light, we returned to our homes & to the challenges that we continue to face with quiet, renewed hope & joy in our hearts, abiding in the light of the star which as with the first shepherds & kings, radiated from our very being. For at least that night, it seemed that the light did shine in the darkness & the darkness did not overcome it & there was hope for a new day.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy