On New Year’s Eve, 2013, my little family made a pilgrimage to Cape Reinga, Te Rerenga Wairua, the northern tip of New Zealand, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea ‘say hello’ as SBJ will tell you, with a dramatic clap of his hands.
They clash with a set of white-topped breakers out in the middle of the water. It’s an eerie thing to witness.
As 2013 meets 2014 I’m hoping for a similar clash of the past and future, because I want 2014 to be a much better year.
This past year has had some magic in it: we bought our first house, settled in Wellington, had adventures around the world and watched our son blossom.
But depression has stalked our family. We’ve also stood by friends as dreadful things have unfolded. For them and for us, let’s hope for good things in a new year.
Two dear friends asked last year if they could pray regularly for our boy (and for the children of other friends). They asked for a few words from us about what we hope for him. We told them that we pray that God will help us to help him grow up to be kind and wise and brave. We think that covers most things.
There is much in our lives we are not in control of, whatever the number on the calendar. It strikes me, at the start of a new year, that these are things we can realistically hope for and prioritise. In 2014, whatever the weather, may we each become more and more kind and wise and brave.
As a (long) postscript, here’s what I wrote last year at this time, and some of these words from Joyce Rupp might be helpful to you:
A new year might be an arbitrary piece of mathematical jiggery-pokery, but it’s also a handy opportunity to let the enthusiasm of millions energise our own inclination for change or renewal.
I thought I’d introduce you to the wonderful Joyce Rupp today, through this collection of blessings, using imagery from the Bible (thanks, JK, the Ideas Woman, for introducing me to her years ago).
You may or may not be super familiar with the Bible, but either way, you might find something you’d like to stick to the bathroom mirror for 2013.
May your inner vision be transformed so that you can see more clearly your own journey with all humankind as a journey of peace, hope, and bondedness. (Numbers 24:15-17; John 20:20)
May your God be someone who you can lean on in your weak and painful moments. May you know God as your rock, your shelter, your strength, your wing of comfort and support. (Psalm 94:18)
May you be aware of all the places your feet carry you in the new year. May you know “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news”. (Romans 10:15)
May you not be afraid of the questions that press upon your mind and heart. May you welcome the questions and wait patiently for the day when they will have their answers. (Matthew 11:3)
May you be the one with welcome in your smile and hello etched upon your hand, the hand you extend to everyone who blesses you with presence. (Luke 7:36-50)
May yours be the gift of reverence for all created things. May you face bravely and enthusiastically the responsibility to preserve and care for the beauty of the earth. (Sirach 42:15-43:33)
May the wellsprings of compassion flow deep within you until you can taste tears of your brothers and sisters. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
May you awake each morning with thank you on your lips and in your heart, recognising that all is gift, that is all blessing. (Psalm 138:1)
May your friendship with God be strong and healthy. May that love be both a comfort and a challenge as you struggle to find your way in the new year. (John 21:15-19)
May your spirit be open and perceptive in discovering the will of God for you. May your prayer be that of wisdom, guidance, and a deeper understanding of God’s way for you. (Luke 1:26-38)
These blessings come from Joyce’s book May I Have This Dance? An Invitation to Faithful Prayer Throughout the Year. If you find any of these helpful, you might also like to visit her site, where you can look at some of her other work and even sign up for weekly reflections.
What’s the New Year like for you and your internal world? Are you thinking of new beginnings or fresh starts? Are there any words that are resonating with you that you’d like to share?
I’m (mostly) on blog-holiday for a couple of weeks, pottering around Northland with the whanau. But there are 250-odd posts on here to keep you fed, should you be keen on some Sacraparental snacking in the meantime. 2013′s New Year’s Guides (from grammar to cloth nappies to beating smoking) might be a good place to start fossicking around!