Well, time to say a fond farewell to yet another year. 2017 is almost history as we move headlong into the beginning of a new story in 2018. The beginning of the New Year sets us up for a short time of reflection and renewal. We reflect on those positive and negative goings on in the past year and determine how we might use those events and learnings to our life going forward.
Typically, we look at the New Year as a time for change; to implement resolutions of losing weight, kicking habits, spending less, giving more …it’s a long list. Often, like a Christmas dinner plate, there is too much to chose from, causing us to not change anything at all once a few days or weeks pass. Then, as we fail to implement any of them, we give up and return to the status quo.
So perhaps this year we might focus on something to change our spiritual life, or to bring our spiritual life into our everyday life. Imagine you keep a tally of how often you greet someone who might pass by unnoticed, smile at someone when no smile was “needed”, let them jump the line because you saw they needed to be served earlier than you. Smaller things, such as trying a new prayer form out, calling forgotten friends not when they need help, but just to reach out. You get the idea.
These are the small things of Christianity which can make all the difference to others, and to us as well. As St. John Cassian teaches us, these good thoughts turn to passions which become behavior. Saint John Paul II describes these as everyday “micro-conversions”.
In the meantime, we can rely on the fact the sun will come up again over the horizon for another new day of renewal. Brightening the earth, giving us light and the chance to do it all over again.
Perhaps this next year, one day at a time instead of trying to do the whole year in an instant.
Sunset over Block Island Sound, 2017