As much preparation as I and the rest of the ministry team puts into Christmas, the important holiday for me is New Year’s Day. Many guess that is due to my love of football. And though there are a plethora of Bowl Games that day, football is not at all my attraction to the day.
Rather it is that years ago Betsy and I gave Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to our families. We celebrate with both families on separate days. While we were grateful to live close enough that we could avoid alternating which year we would be with which family, we also knew that we deserved a day to make our relationship (i.e., our family) the priority. So we chose then to make New Year’s our day.
We both loved it. The hustle and bustle had slowed. The decorations remained. We spent the day reflecting on the year just passed and imagining the year ahead. Always there is a consistent reflection: who knew that would happen? I wonder what will happen this year.
We pause in grateful acknowledgement that we know not what any year holds. That is a good thing. There are hard things that happen that I am glad not to have spent time dreading. There are good things that happen that I am glad not to have spent time anxiously anticipating.
In other words, New Year’s Day we celebrate the possibility of what will be. I may not know what or why things will happen, but like poet Wiszlawa Szymborksa said, “I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.”
And so, it is that we will begin our year together focused on what it might mean to be a people open to possibility. I suspect it will be similar to the practice Betsy and I stumbled into years ago reflecting in gratitude upon what has been and be curious about what is to come. As former U.N. Secretary Dag Hammarskjold said, “For all that has been, thank you. For all that is to come, yes!”