We have reached the end of another calendar year, and now, we begin again. With a New Year, we embrace the opportunity to live into another year. It is the next chapter, which builds on the previous one. We turn the page on our calendars, and we look out on the horizon of new days.
We are grateful for this next year, as we carry with us expectations and hopes. We are thankful for the feeling we have when we look at a New Year. It means that we have opportunities and possibilities in front of us. It means we have time for gathering with loved ones, creating valuable memories, retelling meaningful stories, and learning more with one another. This year will take us further on our journeys.
We have approached new years before, so we know that our excitement about new expectations can wane. We can hesitate to turn the page on the calendar, knowing that our old days were once new days, and their excitement did not always live up to their promise. We might enter this next year with tepid anticipation, which is not terrible, but if we look closely, there is an opportunity at the beginning of the next year.
Our expectations might lead us into the depth of faith, where we recognize that God is always present. Each year on January 6, the Church remembers the Epiphany of the Lord, the day when the Magi arrived to witness the birth of Jesus. The Magi traveled from the East, representing the entire world, in order to see Emmanuel, or God is with us.
We can begin this year, knowing that God is with us in each day, which makes each day new. In remembering God’s presence, we can embrace each day as a gift, looking and listening in new ways because we begin again. We can become intentional about the living of these days.
The New Year can remind us of the poem by Mary Oliver, where she says, “I don’t want to end up simply have visited this world.” At the beginning of a New Year, we can embrace each new day, not just visiting this world, but embracing our lives, for God embraces us. This does not mean we will meet all of our goals or receive all of our hopes, but it does mean we can look and listen differently each day, discovering more than we would have otherwise.