Some look at birthdays and the turning of one calendar year into another as significant – bringing new realities and possibilities into being, taking stock of what was to begin the journey into what will be. Others see such days as much like any other – just randomly assigned holidays with no intrinsic value beyond what our imaginations or superstitions assign to them. In my almost fifty-five years on this planet, I’ve gone back and forth between the two. The older I get, the more I believe it doesn’t really matter which side I land on: what matters is the reasoning behind it and the actions that spring out of it.
Birthdays and New Year as significant: These days encourage reflection and can serve to spur me into action because I can’t hide in my daily unthinking routine. And there’s usually cake…
Birthdays and New Year as not intrinsically more significant than any other day: Every day is a new beginning, an opportunity to reflect on life and see in my daily activities the grace of God and the miracle of this life.
Whatever side I land on in 2019, I hope to waken each day with the sure knowledge and deep appreciation for this fragile, imperfect, holy life I’ve been given; I hope to waken each day with the sure knowledge and deep appreciation for the fragile, imperfect, holy lives of everyone I encounter. May I find enough love and wisdom to live this out in 2019.
Happy New Year! Amen.