“A long December and there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.” These are the opening lines to the Counting Crows song “Long December.” I love this song as it feeds my occasional melancholy and wistfulness about the present and the future. It HAS been a long December-not just personally but it seems for much of the world. We have had another school shooting, bombs in Russia, bitter cold, deaths, people experiencing very traumatic life situations that will not have a positive resolution, and the list could go on and on.
On New Year’s Eve a bit of reflection on the past and wondering about the future seems appropriate. (Don’t analyze the fact that I am blogging and not at some wild and crazy NYE party…Yes I am old, have children and tired.) I have had some REALLY bad years in the past and New Year’s Eve was a relief-the idea being that it couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? (Well, there was this one year where it actually did get worse.) And other years where things hadn’t been so bad so is the other shoe going to fall in the coming year so to speak? It seems that NYE lends itself for many of us to try and become mystics or fortune tellers. Sometimes, sadly, we do know what the inevitable outcome of the future might be but I was wondering today, as I was putting away groceries, is with almost everything else is do we really want to know? Good or bad? Does it matter?
I am not sure it does. If I know what I will be doing a year from today, it takes all of the wonder and awe out of our life journey, even if it’s not positive. I also think not knowing what the coming year will bring keeps us grounded in the present, attentive to the here and now and to the people with whom we are occupying this time and space.
When I do think of the coming year, what I mostly hope for is for more of what I have today. The more love in community and family, more joy in welcoming new people into those circles (family is who you love-not just who you are genetically related to), more of the movement of the Holy Spirit moving in the world, more recognizing the holy in the ordinary, more of the honor of journeying with those who grieve and struggle and more of the knowing the grace and mercy of God in my life and in the lives of all people. May you not just have a Happy New Year, but a new year of knowing the new life we have been given through Christ, a new year of deep and abiding love and a new year of knowing that no matter what does happen, whether our months are long an arduous or joyful, God is present.