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December 31, 2010

Another Year Over, a New One Just Begun

Since senior year of college, I have been going to Mass just about every day.  It’s always a beautiful way to start the day, but some days in particular—like today—are made even more special when they begin at church.


Today is the last day of 2010, a year that began with realizing I was pregnant with our first child in a Manhattan Verizon Wireless and that is ending with a squealing little boy wriggling beside a spindly Christmas tree in our Brooklyn apartment.  This has certainly been the Year of Jacob.  What a wild and wonderful ride it’s been, and thank God for all we have to look forward to with him in the year to come.


New Year’s Eve is generally not my favorite holiday, because it involves staying up late and unnecessary pressures to make huge lifestyle changes literally overnight.


At the same time, it’s an obvious opportunity to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year to come.  Doing so in a prayerful community and with a focus on the Eucharist challenged me to be more intentional and more honest about my objectives for 2011.


For example, yesterday I was thinking I’d resolve to read, write, pray, and exercise a half hour each every single day of this new year.


Yeah, okay.


In reality, this is too regimented for me, and I’ll feel like I’ve failed before I’ve had a chance to begin.  Resolving, rather, to be more disciplined and more charitable in what I think, say, and do is a more achievable goal, because it’s both more flexible and has a greater purpose in its objective.  While it may seem unwieldy, this resolution’s adaptability is more suited to the kind of life I have right now with the little guy.  I hope that with this in mind, and with a generous helping of God’s grace, I will become a better mother, a better wife, a better Christian woman.


What hadn’t struck me until today was that the end of a calendar just overlaps with the beginning of a new liturgical year.  Advent, the season before Christmas, marks the start of the Church’s year, and gets us in the mindset of making changes to welcome new beginnings before the calendar page turns.  After having worked through a period of true preparation, and while we are still officially in the Christmas season, what better time than this to push aside the darkness of our old lives and find joy in the light of a new beginning?


The gospel reading today was from the beginning of the Gospel according to John—those puzzling and almost circuitous verses about the Word of God made flesh and come to dwell among us.  It was read carefully and slowly, and gave me a renewed sense of joy and gratitude in the beautiful traditions of the faith and how they influence my life.


My prayer tonight is gratitude for the year past and hope for the year ahead.  May God bless us all in 2011!

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