NEW YEAR’S EVE. The day before the New Year, 2013, begins. It is a special day by all reckonings. It is special because it asks us to “look both ways” – to the past year and to the year that lies before us. Traditionally, this is a time for New Year’s resolutions (looking ahead) and also a time for reflection on how good God has been to us this past year.
The Gospel selection today begins with the stately words that open John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word. . .” And thus begins a hymn that celebrates the Incarnation of God. In the exact middle of the hymn, we are told, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” What better way to end our year than by being reminded of Christian beginnings: God so loved us that he sent his only Son, the Word of God made flesh. The Incarnation, which we are now celebrating, is just the beginning of our being blessed lavishly by God.
How has that blessing been manifested in our lives this past year? What has entered my life this year that I am grateful for? Examples come readily to mind -- Two couples I know are the proud parents of healthy babies (soon to be baptized). A man successfully passed five years since his beloved wife died. A friend celebrates two and a half months of sobriety. My brother continues to struggle and find faith.
The effects of Christ’s “dwelling among us” become manifest in so many ways! I want to be called into gratitude for that blessing which He is for me by His birth and to be attuned to the many ways He comes again and again into my life to be born ever more deeply there. Lord, I pray that I be opened to those ways that you make your presence known to me as you continue to invite me into your life. I take the opportunity this New Year’s Eve to express my gratitude to you.