Accepting the Gift of Renewal

Christmas has come and gone, taking with it the final few days of the current year. I’m always amazed at how quickly we careen through this season. It comes before we’re ready and goes before we know it.

I love the end-of-year holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — and I love with my whole heart the deep symbolism that can be found in New Year’s Eve.

However, I often close the year feeling over-stimulated by the events of the prior twelve months. Each year is filled with its own ups and downs: we laugh, we cry, we make new friends, and we say goodbye to others. We try new things and soar beyond our own expectations. We try and fail. We make wishes, and then make peace with our lives when they don’t come true. We celebrate births and mourn deaths.

By the close of Christmas, it’s not uncommon to feel bogged down and stifled by life’s cares. I’ve found that the best way to handle end-of-year fatigue is to look toward the start of the New Year as a time of renewal– a gift from the Divine. There’s something wonderful about seeing life as a cycle of seasons that opens each year with a clean slate and a promise of renewal.

Today is the final day of 2017 — a year that was jam packed with political strife, social and cultural divisions, and great uncertainty. Those challenges compounded with the ordinary detours of life have been overwhelming for some of us, but there is a glimmer of promise ahead. Let us resolve to view the final moments of 2017 as a minute-by-minute march towards total unburdening, leading to a time of freedom from the cares that have come to characterize the year. And let us look ahead to the coming year with gratitude for the great renewal that awaits us there. Happy New Year, friends. Peace be with you.