How many of you make New Year’s resolutions? When I was younger I tried a few times but then lost track of them and never followed through on them. I know a woman who, instead of a New Year’s resolution, chose a word for the year and reflected on it and utilized it as a guide for the year. I have always liked that idea and one year on New Year’s Eve, our friends who gather with my husband and I on that night, chose a word for the year and we wrote them down. The end of the year on the next New Year’s Eve we had really interesting conversations that night about how those chosen words impacted us.
Words are used to communicate with one another, in multiple languages some of which are oral languages and some written. Jesus used words to form stories to teach and those stories were translated and then shared through the scriptures. Stories that taught us about love; love of self and the invitation to love our neighbor as our self and as importantly to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind. Imagine a world where everyone took this invitation to heart, what an amazing fresh start for our new year.
In retrospect, we have witnessed moments of love of neighbor and we also witnessed a severe absence of love for neighbor both domestically and globally. At times it seems there are no words to express how 2021 has impacted us and yet we search for those words to give meaning to all we have experienced. The words that come to my mind vary from terror, fear, deep sadness and disbelief especially in light of the murder of George Floyd, to emotional overwhelm and reassurance at the generosity, courage, commitment of so many to be a light of hope and healing.
2021 has been quite the year with Covid still a significant challenge, the wounds within people who intentionally hurt others through gun violence, instilling fear and division; or the words used to create the perception of truth that were not true; the words used by the Pope to guide and instill hope, promote love of neighbor, our world, the environment and most importantly how to grow in relationship with God. Words are important and words have consequences and power. In John’s Gospel 1:1-3 it says: “ in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word; God in human form, in the person of Jesus. What is one word that comes to your mind when you allow yourself to enter into this scripture passage?
Those who know me, know that words, their intent and meaning and how they are used are significant to me and to the world we all interact with on a daily basis. We are entering 2022 and I offer an invitation to you for your fresh start to a new year to choose a word for yourself for the year and write it down. Take time to reflect, read or pray for the guidance of the Spirit to inspire and guide you in choosing your word. Let the word you choose come from deep within, where as the song goes, God will plant God’s law, not on stone but in your heart. Your heart center is where the Spirit resides, where the Word lives, where your fresh start to a new year is waiting to be spoken aloud. Enjoy the journey of discovery of your word for the year, journal with it and pray with it and then savor the lessons when your year in review comes around again next New Year’s Eve. Peace and Blessings for 2022.