New Year’s Day

It is just a day like any other,

the day I decide, I will quit smoking,

start the diet, live better……

The day I decide to leave. The day I decide to stay.

A day like any other. 

I give it meaning as if it is pregnant with power.

an energy that will impel.

Just a day like any other yet are all days the same?

It is a day like any other – but not.

It is a new day – unique.  Perhaps a hope-day?

It can be if I choose.  Which makes it a day like any other.

I always find January an odd sort of month.  Perhaps it is because of the busy run up to Christmas and the now the long holiday – so much seems to stop from 23rd December to 2nd January.   We emerge into January and become aware of it when we are almost halfway through.   I have a nephew whose birthday is on the 6th who always complained as it was never separate enough from Christmas.   People would forget and send something late or worse (especially when he was a child) send him a combined Christmas and birthday present which he felt was most unfair.

It is also illogical as to why we think of 1st January as a fresh start – it is just a date.  Yet we imbue it with special significance.  It somehow has an energising quality, the light at the end of the winter, the hope of spring etc. 

The ancient Roman religion and myth had the god Janus who had two faces, one looking back and the other forward.  He was the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, frames, and endings!  It is from his name that the month of January is named, also our word janitor – as someone who looks after doorways and passages.

This suggests to me why celebrating and commemorating the end of one year and the beginning of another is significant.   There is a sense of passage, moving on in our lives.  There may be anticipation, the excitement of an expected birth, a wedding long planned, the holiday of a lifetime.  We walk into the unknown.   We face the future, not knowing what the days and months will bring to us or how we will respond.  Alongside is apprehension, the reality is that in twelve months, much will change.

Change is always situational, an event that happens.  Most always we have no control over this.  Once the change has happened, we move into a transition dealing with the change, living with what it has brought to us.  In this time, we re-form and adjust ourselves to our changed state.  This repeats many times in our lives. 

This change, transition, recovery pattern also gives us hope.   Looking backwards in your life you will recall events – some shattering, others of great joy – which may have radically changed your life.  And you are still here, you passed through the bad with hope and courage and were enriched by all those that were good.

This pattern of life like the waves of the sea it just how it is – we even have a name for it – the ‘ups and downs of life.’

Only last year we were talking about a ‘new normal’ after the worst of the pandemic.  What we are experiencing is far from the ‘normal’ we may have imagined.  The dark days of winter are difficult for many, alongside the additional anxieties we face as a country.  Resilience is something we are good at putting to practical use.  Such times bring out the best in people as we support one another through friendship. 

Creator God, be love in us as we journey.  May we welcome all who come our way.  Deepen our faith to see all of life through your eyes.  Fill us with hope and an abiding trust that you dwell in us amidst all our joys and sorrows. 

My best wishes for your new year!

Rev Anne Dunlop