I want to share the thoughts of Henri Nouwen on this first day of 2021.
|A New Beginning!|
|We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life. Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises. Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to the voice saying to us: “I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!” Imagine.|
Is it possible that our imagination can lead us to the truth of our lives? Yes, it can! The problem is that we allow our past, which becomes longer and longer each year, to say to us: “You know it all; you have seen it all, be realistic; the future will just be a repeat of the past. Try to survive it as best you can.” There are many cunning foxes jumping on our shoulders and whispering in our ears the great lie: “There is nothing new under the sun… don’t let yourself be fooled.”
When we listen to these foxes, they eventually prove themselves right: our new year, our new day, our new hour become flat, boring, dull, and without anything new.
So what are we to do? First, we must send the foxes back to where they belong: in their foxholes. And then we must open our minds and our hearts to the voice that resounds through the valleys and hills of our life saying: “Let me show you where I live among my people. My name is ‘God-with-you.’ I will wipe all the tears from your eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone” (Revelation 21:2–5).
I spent December 28 and 29 in hospital for a racing heart caused by Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome. Now that I’m 60, experiences like that create sobering reminders that our time here on earth is limited. 2020 has been a year of health crisis for many. I’ve lost some friends to Covid. And all these experiences deepen my prayer life and thankfulness that God is my dwelling place. (Psalm 90). He is Emmanual, God with us, walking us on our path of life. He has always been and always will be.
Rather than try to just survive, we need to each learn to live in openness, looking for ‘ah-hah’ moments as a friend of mine says. There are always new experiences, new things to learn, deeper wisdom to gain. As Henri Nouwen says in the devotional above “live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new.” And as Moses prays in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” I am grateful for His teaching, leading, guiding, wisdom. When I was 16 and a new Christian, He gave me Matthew 6:33 as my life verse, wisdom from Him on how to live. This is a prayer I pray daily not only for myself but for my children that each of us seek Him first in all our moments. In doing so, a habit of seeing a new beginning develops. Centering our thoughts on His Word develops habits of gratitude and thankfulness for each moment He allows us on earth.
I pray scripture often and this is a prayer based on Colossians 3 I pray for each person in my family quite often:
Prayer based on Colossians 3
(from Beth M. Symanzik’s Mom’s Book Of Prayers, 2014)
Dad, I thank You that we have been raised with Christ. I pray that each of us, _________________(names of family members), seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at Your right hand; that each of us set our hearts and minds to seek You first in all our ways (Matthew 6:33). I pray we each set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Remind each of us that as believers in Christ, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in You. Help each of us put to death what is earthly in us – sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness. Help us put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from our mouths. Help each of us not to lie. Help us each continue to put off the old self and put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of You. Faith is active, help each of us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, remembering You are our Great High Priest – You understand our struggles. Help each of us, since we are Your chosen, holy and beloved by You, to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Help us each bear with one another, forgive each other – just as Christ has forgiven us may we also forgive. Above all these, help each of us, help _________________(names of family members), put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May we each let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. And may we each be thankful. May Your word dwell richly in each of us. May we teach and admonish each other in wisdom. May we sings psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to You our God and Father. Fill each of us with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52). May whatever we do in word or deed, be done in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, giving thanks always. In Christs’ precious name I pray, Amen and Amen.
May this new year find you walking your path of life seeking Him first in all your ways, every moment of your days.