New Year Reflection

Before you enter the new year, I invite you to reflect over this last one. Imagine God sitting next to you as you do. Ask God to guide you through the year as you look back, drawing your attention to where it is needed.

Are there experiences to which you still need to be present ? Listen to what they have to say to you. Is anything else needed? Do they still need you to grieve them? What wisdom do they offer you as you listen? Gently look back and spend time with any such spaces still calling for your attention.

Are there places, people, or things that it is time to let go of? Spend some quiet time in reflection and prayer, asking God to show you. You may even want to journal about these things or talk with someone you trust.

As you look back, review those moments, persons, and experiences for which you are grateful. Savor them and offer God your thanks. Maybe send a note of thanks to those who touched your life this last year.

As you look to the New Year, where are you most drawn? Where do you feel most energized to invest yourself? Fredrick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” What is that life-giving place for you?

Is self-care something you need to attend more to? How do you play and rest? Are your relationships inviting you to invest more in them? As you reflect on these questions, pay special attention to what energizes you. You may want to journal about these things and talk with someone you trust.

Each year there are a few spiritual practices I do to help me enter the new year. I do an Examen of the Year, I redo my Life Rule and look at my Personal Compass. I commend these spiritual practices to you as you begin the New Year. If you want to know more about them, you can easily find resources on the internet, or email me and I will be glad to share resources with you.

New Year Blessing
May you be aware of God’s leading and God’s presence with you in each of your moments and days. May God grant you clarity of vision, a renewed sense of call, and meaningful people to journey alongside you. May God’s deep blessings be yours, as you seek “to see God more clearly, love God more dearly, and follow God more nearly, day by day.” (Lyrics from Godspell Day by Day written in 1971 by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak.) Amen.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Gracious God,
There are seasons in our lives
when it is easier to be thankful
than at other times.
Sometimes we feel beaten up by life’s struggles
and disheartened by one loss after another,
including all the places of heartache
we see around the world.
When we feel downcast remind us
that when you were here
You too knew struggle and loss and heartache.
Remind us how your presence
uplifted and made a difference
in each of the lives you touched.
Deepen our awareness yet again
of how you do that with us.
Deepen our awareness of how you do that for others through us.
We are your hands and heart and feet.
Help us to love well.
So Lord, on this designated day of giving thanks,
Thank you for providing for our needs.
Thank you for all the ways you touch our lives
and uplift our spirits.
Thank you for all the ways you help us
put one foot in front of another.
Thank you for holding us when we are grieving.
Thank you for giving us strength when we are weak.
Thank you for encouraging us in so many ways.
Thank you for loving us always.
Thank you for being as close as our very breath.
Thank you for being you.
We love you Emmanuel, God with us.
Thank you.