Sometimes the light of the new day feels faint like the late December sun rising over Chesterman Beach in Tofino (above). There is mist around us, we can't quite make out the shape of the future, but we place our hopes in the faint glow making its way upward across the sky.
While I have some mixed feelings about the celebration of New Year's, I also find hope in it as a way for people to recollect and renew. Like Thanksgiving, I appreciate the importance of secular holidays that celebrate important values like gratitude and remembering. While resolutions often seem to lead to unrealistic goals, the desire for newness seems woven into who we are. Different religious traditions celebrate the new year in a variety of ways. The new Christian calendar began a month ago with the season of Advent when we celebrate the coming of God's birth into the world. The Jewish new year is celebrated on Rosh Hashanah to begin the Days of Awe, a time of introspection and reflection. New beginnings give us motivation to start again, to reflect on the ways in which we have not lived up to the fullness of who we are and make new or renewed commitments. The promise of newness revitalizes us to continue the journey.
Both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures give us this promise of a new creation. We read "I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you" (Ezekiel 36:26), "when you are in Christ, you are a New Creation; the old has gone, the new is here and now!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) and God says "Behold, I make all things new!" (Revelations 21:5) Creativity is fundamentally about newness. When we create we make something that wasn't there before, a new image or song, a new vision or arrangement of materials. God is the primary creator, breathing life and newness into each of us, sustaining creation each day, offering new possibility at every turn.
What new things are stirring within you?
May the new year bless you with hope and vision. May your deepest gifts continue to be revealed in new ways.
-Christine Valters Paintner
PS – A new look for the blog at the cusp of the new year. I loved the black, but found it sometimes hard to read and I couldn't get the text any larger. Hope this is easier on the eyes!