A New Year’s Resolve
It seems a little strange to write Happy New Year without the characteristic exclamation point at the end. After all, I usually greet the new year with excitement and wonder.
This was the first one I greeted with relief.
But just about everything is different these days, isn’t it? With that in mind, I’ve decided this is the perfect time to ditch New Year’s resolutions. I have never been big on them because mine usually centered around trying to change myself in unrealistic ways, and my willpower often flagged before the end of January.
This year, I’m going to focus instead on my resolve. The distinction may seem minor, but I don’t think it is. A resolution is something outside myself—maybe a goal or an ambition—but my resolve comes from within me, a determination, my faith in action.
When the End Is in Sight, But Not Quite
This is especially important these days. Like many, I have found myself dragged down by pandemic fatigue. Tiring of precautions, chafing against restrictions, growing numb to the magnitude of our shared tragedy. Some days it can feel hard to remain hopeful and mindful that the pandemic’s end may now be in sight.
But until that happens and the vaccine becomes widely available, the pandemic goes on. And we who long to gather together must endure our separations for a while longer.
Still, it’s a new year. And there’s something about a new beginning, even if it’s just the date on a brand-new calendar that kindles hope. Somehow, knowing that 2020 is over creates a container for it, makes it finite, puts it in the past.
It’s time to look ahead. Welcoming this New Year is glimpsing the flicker of light on the horizon, the break of dawn on a symbolic new day. It’s the hint, the whisper that better times are on the way.
And that’s where I’m focusing my resolve, my faith that when we close out 2021, we will be much closer to the lives we knew than we were when we rang it in.
Let Resolve Help
This resolve will keep me socially distant for a while longer, when I so want to hug the dear ones I miss. This resolve will keep me patient and in my house when I feel called to be in the world. This resolve is what will keep the mask on my face as long as necessary—even when I want others to me see me smiling at them and to see them smiling back.
I pray that you know this resolve as the dawn that breaks within you. May your faith equip you with resolve, keep you strong in adversity, and hopeful and expectant of the dawn during the darkest point of the night.
These earliest days of the new year are a reminder: Keep the light of hope on the horizon of your awareness. Have faith that light will grow ever brighter and lead us all to sunnier days ahead.
Rev. Teresa Burton