December 31st, 2004
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
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YEAR’S EVE. The day before the New Year, 2005, 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.
to the writer of this reflection.
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