Hello! Welcome to the first episode of 2022. If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of hearing new year, new ______ [fill in the blank advertisements, promotions, social media posts]. To be frank, I’m struggling with the transition into the new year and all the pressure – whether real or imagined – attached to entering a new calendar year.
I had planned to begin a new series last week, the first week of 2022, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I just didn’t want to add to the New Years noise, and I wanted to give myself permission to just not… you know? That hope and anticipation of Advent was life-giving, and Christmas was as magical as we could make it while recovering from Covid. But now that we’ve turned the corner to this new year, I’ve come down from that holiday high and I’m struggling to move into the new year with the renewed optimism that has come naturally at the dawn of past years.
I resonate with the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 38:9-10: “O Lord, you know what I long for; you hear all my groans. My heart is pounding, my strength is gone, and my eyes have lost their brightness.”
Maybe you can relate.
So instead of a new series today, let’s take our time to settle into the expectations that a new year brings… and let’s pray together.
Slow down and take a deep breath….
Open yourself to know God and be known by God…
Continue inhaling and exhaling slowly…
And open your palms as you open your heart so that a you can receive the good gifts that have already been given to you, but perhaps you’ve been too busy, too distracted, to see them…. So you can receive the good gifts that will be given to you.
Give me the gift of peace, O God.
May your peace be my peace.
Give me the gift of hope, O God.
May your hope be my hope.
Give my the gift of compassion, O God.
May your compassion be my compassion.
Give me the gift of love, O God.
May your love by my love.
Be my strength, O God,
When I feel weak
Be my help, O God,
When I feel helpless.
Be my comfort, O God,
When I feel anxious.
Give me rest
So that I can stay awake.
Restore the brightness to my eyes.
Be my companion and my guide in the days ahead. And help me be aware and responsive to how you are moving in me, where you are leading me, what you are stirring in me.
Renew in me a zeal for this new year you have given us. A child-like wonder and anticipation for your good gifts, God, is not just for the Advent season, but for today and every day.
Bind up my wounds, and show me the way of the wounded healer.
May your renewal come quickly, and through me your goodness and your grace will be taken into 2022 and passed on to a weary people, a sick people, a people burned out on hope, a people with little compassion left to give, a people skeptical of love, and a people longing still for peace.
Now consider what you will need to be grounded, peaceful and rested in the days and weeks ahead.
Make your needs known to God.
Next week we will be back with a new series on bodies. Because we don’t need new bodies this new year, we need to learn to be kind to the bodies we already have.
Go in peace, friends, and have the best new year available to you.