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Prayer for the New Year

I am not an enthusiast of new year’s resolutions. Perhaps it comes from seeing too many advertisements for gym equipment, dating sites, or weight loss programs during the last week of December, knowing most resolutions fade just a few weeks later. While the desire for self-improvement is admirable, some resolutions feel half-hearted or even self-loathing.

But 2020 has been a year like no other and, as it comes to a close, I have been thinking more about new year’s resolutions. As we near the Epiphany of the Lord, I am considering new year’s resolutions with a new perspective. Epiphany means manifestation, and the Epiphany of the Lord is Jesus’ manifestation to the three Magi and to the whole world.

In 2020, the whole world has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. So much of what we’re accustomed to -- our routines, habits, and activities -- came to a screeching halt. That lockdown continues in many ways as we begin 2021. 

I have come to see a small silver lining in the lockdown. With most commitments on hiatus, if and when things “open up” and we can start activities again, I hope to carefully evaluate what I choose to bring back. The difficulties of 2020 may bring an epiphany of sorts in 2021, with the invitation to prayerfully and deliberately evaluate what I do -- and, more importantly, what I don’t do. Every activity, every commitment, every social or volunteer opportunity, is an invitation for me to prayerfully ask, “Why should I do this? Does this help someone? Does this bring me joy? Does this bring me closer to God? Or should I not bring this back?”

While I, like you, anxiously await for the pandemic to ebb (hopefully soon!) and for life to return back to “normal,” I pray for an epiphany in this new year. As we wade into 2021, may we look for the star that God is using to call us. May our new normal be focused on God and how God is speaking to us, now more than ever.

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