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The Promise of New Beginnings

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!

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8 Responses

  1. congrats on the zoom lens! and i am still exciting about you being hooked on stamp carving. the fun part for me is to see your masterpieces :) cheers to our art!!!!!!!

  2. Yes, the Northwest is one of the most beautiful places in the world (in my humble opinion!) :-) I did receive a fancy new macro zoom lens, but Santa’s sleigh got a bit delayed so it arrived while we were away on vacation (apparently Santa doesn’t do mail forwarding) so I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, just played with it a little indoors.

    Your hopes sound marvelous Bette. I hope to see more of your wood carvings this year! You have gotten me completely hooked on stamp carving. Thank you for that inspiration and for your friendship across the miles.

    Love and blessings, Christine

  3. I’m Loving all your cool photos! In Tofino you were surrounded with such beauty….and also were you live. But you also have the gift of a keen eye to search out the beauty. Did you receive a new camera for Christmas?

    I’m glad for this secular holiday of New Years, for it gives me a deadline – a point to either look forward to or to start over. Shed old things and make things new.

    My hope is to be able to discern the stirrings within – to put them to good use – to form them in a spiritual way that is meaningful and speaks to others profoundly to help them feel and seek their inner stirrings or to plant seeds within those who are seeking the meaning of their life here on earth.

    Peace and hugs and wishes for you to find your desires as well :)
    Love, Bette.

  4. Thank you Wendy, you too. I thought you’d like the lighter look!

    Thanks you Lisa!

    Thanks Cathleen, since we have passed the Solstice it felt like a good visual expression of our movement toward the light. Lots of wonderful stirrings for you!

    Hi Shaula and welcome! Thanks for your kind words. Blessings on the year ahead.

    Peace and joy to you all, Christine

  5. Thank you. I used the verses you referenced and shared a few of your comments with my family last night as a part of our New Year’s Eve celebration. Very inspiring.

  6. The light after the darkness, emerging from within ~ your new theme follows your words beautifully. Stirring within me is a desire for more creativity, more expression, and more movement – physically, emotionally, spiritually. Fresh, new blessings to you, Cathleen