Well here we are, once again standing at the end of our human-created calendar, looking forward to the beginning of our next year, as defined by that calendar. Personally, I am looking forward to the opportunity to worship in community tomorrow morning, so my celebrations tonight will be quiet and I’ll leave the party animal in me to be satisfied by an event on January 2 with friends old and new, a most fitting way to start 2012.
A New Year’s Day worship service can be a most important experience…it was many years ago in just such a service, my very first New Year in Washington DC as a newly divorced, newly transplanted resident of the area I now have now called home these many years, in a New Year’s day service that I first truly heard the call of God on my life, a voice and a call that led me to years of training and performing and searching as a musician. And I find myself, on this New Year’s eve, on the brink of another year of change and adventure in my poor human attempts to let that call unfold in my life and my living. I am both excited and apprehensive to find what the next steps in my life bring, which, I believe, confirms that fact that I am still very much a human being on the mortal plane.
I find myself thinking a lot about our secular rituals and our sacred ones, as the secular ritual of drawing the year to a close continues. Everything about this celebration of the passing of an old year has ancient origins…before we had a man-made calendar, we responded as living beings to the changes in the light and the seasons…it is no surprise that once we did create a calendar, that those of us of European ancestry would give its beginning and end to the time when we move through the shortest day of light and return to lengthening of days.
If you had any doubt that calendars and our marking of time were human creations, listen to this story about the island of Samoa — they decided they wanted to be on the other side of the International Date line, and so they cancelled December 30 and went straight to December 31. But calendars, be they secular or liturgical, are about remembrance, one of the most ancient human practices of all.
As usual, much of this day has been devoted to making way — making way for the blessings and lessons and people and insights that will come to me with my living in 2012. I’m busy writing my letter to God, which follows. If you want to read last year’s letter or if you don’t know why I write a letter to God, you can click here.
And so, as you make your way through whatever rituals you hold dear to mark this date on our human calendar, I wish you well…I wish you blessings and love and peace and all the things your heart desires and all the things that
God desires for you in your life. And I’ll see you soon in the next year.
Well, God, here we are again, standing on the edge of human time, ready to leap. For this last year, each day has felt like a bit of a leap, a leap into darkness and unknowing, in search of the light. I frankly thought that it would never come, but it is beginning to dawn, even if ever so slowly.
I suppose that I should apologize for, well, digging my heels in a bit. I now realize that what I thought was releasing control may have been the worst possible attempt at avoidance, avoidance of your call and your need. At times, in 2011, I have felt like the world became very small — but now I know that it wasn’t small, I just refused to see. We are funny creatures, we humans. We can shroud ourselves in darkness and then blame the darkness for not allowing us to see. But there is always the light…always.
Despite my own failings in 2011, there have been so many blessings: so many new friends, such good relationships, such amazing grace and blessing that I cannot begin to list the magnificence. And it is in this bounty that I find strength, the strength to welcome 2012 and all that it has to bring to my life and the lives of those around me. And with my confession and my gratitude firmly in place, I am ready to embrace that which lies ahead: I am ready to walk through my fears, because I know that I am not alone. I am ready to weave together all the threads of my life, even though to the world around me they don’t look like they will make a whole cloth. I know and You know that they will. I am ready to do whatever you need me to do to be the disciple that you need me to be.
When I am immobilized by fear, I will turn to you…I will turn to you in prayer, I will turn to you in the faces and hearts of my community of faith and the loved ones in my life; I will turn to you in faith.
And, you and me, while we will talk often, let’s make a date to compare notes again, this time, in 2012? Deal? Deal.
Happy New Year.