A Stable Faith…….. by Rev. Shayna Appel

We light this chalice on the brink of a new year
Letting go of what has been
Open and hopeful for what may come
Renewed, restored, ready
To live Life fully anew
May we move forward with intention. 

~ Lois Van Leer

It’s been a very long time since I found myself getting excited about New Year’s Eve.  I’m an “early to bed and early to rise” person, and I just don’t find being out with a bunch of drunk people as much fun as it once was.

What I do love is New Year’s Day!  Arlo and I will get up early and, weather permitting, go out for a nice walk.  It feels good to just greet the day and the new year in the woods, by a river, basking in the early quiet of the day.

I’m also not big on New Year’s resolutions.  But someone introduced me to an idea a few years back and it has become part of my new year’s ritual.  I was encouraged to pick a word for the year — a word that is meaningful and that will, hopefully, help keep me focused on something important that I want to contemplate or go deeper into.

Last year’s word was connection. Connection seemed important a year and a half into the pandemic.  Focusing on connection enabled me to find it in unexpected places, and those finds sustained me through what I think we can all agree was a pretty disconnected time!

My word for 2023 hasn’t quite come to me yet.  I’m working on it!  Given that this is my final year in parish ministry, the word transition is prominent for me.  But given all the uncertainty ahead, faith is also in the running, as are emerge, possibility, embrace, and reach.

But today, as I write this to you, it is the Solstice – so I still have a few more days to figure this out!  Tonight we will be graced by the longest night of the year.  And tomorrow, gradually, daylight will begin to subtly return to us.  Keeping with my theme of 2022, I’m going to try and stay connected to all of that for a few more days.  When the new year comes, I’ll do my best to, as Lois Van Leer writes, let go of what has been, open myself to what may come, and try to live with intention.

I don’t know what you all have planned for New Year’s Eve, or for the days that follow, but whatever it is, I pray it serves your soul!  And may that same soul find nourishment and reason to bloom in the new year!