The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
– G.K. Chesterton
… we can make a house called tomorrow.
What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day,
Is ourselves. And that’s all we need
To start. That’s everything we require to keep going.
Look back only for as long as you must,
Then go forward into the history you will make.
Be good, then better. Write books. Cure disease.
Make us proud. Make yourself proud.
And those who came before you? When you hear thunder,
Hear it as their applause.
~Albert Rios from “A House Called Tomorrow”
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.
~Helen Hunt Jackson from “New Year’s Morning”
Let other mornings honor the miraculous.
Eternity has festivals enough.
This is the feast of our mortality,
The most mundane and human holiday.
The new year always brings us what we want
Simply by bringing us along—to see
A calendar with every day uncrossed,
A field of snow without a single footprint.
~Dana Gioia, “New Year’s” from Interrogations at Noon
Now that all the Advent anticipation is spent and New Year’s Day 2021 is here, I find my energy waning just as the work of Christmas must begin.
Instead of the Twelve Days of Christmas it should be the Twelve Weeks, or better yet, Twelve Months of Christmas – maybe the lights should stay up until St. Patrick’s Day at least, just to keep us out of the shadows, inertia and doldrums of this pandemic winter – anything to push aside the dark.
As I swept up the last of the fir needles left on the floor from the Christmas tree, I realized I too have been drying up. I feel helpless in sweeping up the pandemic of suffering of the past year: the grief and loss, homelessness, hunger, disease, conflict, addictions, depression and pain.
It is overwhelming.
As a broken part of this broken world, I am called to the year-long work of Christmas begun by an infant in a manger, being swaddled into a new soul and a new life in Him.