A Prayer for the New Year

As we near the precipice of 2021 turning to 2022 perhaps you are examining the past year (or two, they seem to blend together somehow). Perhaps you choose to skip that part to look ahead and focus energies on the possibilities a new year holds. Dates on the calendar are yet to be scheduled and defined. A sense of hope-filled anticipation is practically palpable.

Today, I sit with music playing softly in the background, a cozy blanket around me, and the gentle flicker of a candle beside me. I am transfixed, observing the snow outside my window. Each flake, we’re taught, is unique. How many of these unique flakes are in a small handful of snow? Formed by water vapor, particles, and freezing temperatures. What a wonderous thing.

These flakes eventually melt, water the earth, and the water cycle continues. This water is the same water that has always existed on earth. Water is strong enough to cut through rock and gentle enough to cleanse. Life requires it to be sustained. This water has seen many lives – through storms, bubbling creeks, teardrops, snowflakes, and baptismal waters.

For those who follow Christ, baptism is both an ending and starting point, it is about death to old identities and solidarities, and rebirth into hope, promise, and abundant life for all. As we follow God we are to bless the world, serve the vulnerable, hungry, sick, and frightened. Emerging from the water we are to roll on like a river of blessing, bringing peace to the warring and healing to the nations. Water is not meant to stop at any boundary, but to continue to pour over the dikes and levees that some would build to keep God’s work within bounds.

I pray that as you continue your day you might take a lingering look at the water around you, a cupful, a snowball, a water fountain, a cloud above and remember our place in the world is much like the boundless yet unique and fleeting life of snow. May we release the past year knowing that God is above all and constantly working in the world even as we may not perceive it.

May each of us give thanks for what has been and what may be with a resolve to seek faithfulness over perfection, love over fear, kairos over chronos, peacemaking over conflict or apathy. Now, take a big gulp of water as you prepare to greet the new year.

Written by Rev. Aune M. Carlson, Director of Operations for CMEP