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2022: Reflections and a Blessing

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Yesterday on New Year’s Eve, I walked the beach with a heavy heart. It was “unseasonably warm” – a symptom of global warming. The skies were grey, echoing the way I felt. We are in the worst COVID flare-up EVER. While I wanted to gather and ring in the new year with friends and family, this variant is so contagious. So many are sick. So many are grieving… and distressed. Some young adults just shared that they and their peers are concerned about having children because of the economic and political state of the world. AARGH.

As I walk, I ponder the song “We Three Kings” by Patti Smith that I had listened to earlier in the day. It is haunting. I wanted to switch to a “Christmas sweet” version but, I stuck with it. A reminder that those were some tough times when Jesus was born. There was political unrest and high taxes. A woman, 9 months pregnant, had to make a long and dangerous journey mandated by the government – and her “betrothed” must have been beside himself watching her give birth in a stable. Not quite the beginnings one would wish for any child – never mind this Divine Babe.

Yet – it was Divine Order and fulfilled what prophets had foretold. There were angels and singing, joy and peace. There were some shepherds who heard and saw and followed – those who discerned – perhaps being drawn like a magnet. And the “three kings” were some who saw the star and recognized that it was a sign and they, too, followed. The star shone on so many people across so many miles. I wonder: who else noticed the star and followed… or didn’t? Who didn’t even notice the unique star at all?

On the beach, when I turned to head back, I saw a beautiful break in the clouds and a gorgeous stream of light. I wonder: where do we put our focus: on the gloomy skies or do we look for breaks of light? Are we willing to walk through the gloom and notice… the people peacefully walking with their dogs? Notice the multigenerational family joyfully singing “Frosty the Snowman”? Are we willing to be lighthouses – that shine for all, beckoning safe shores and warning of dangerous rocks? Are we willing to accept the most difficult of situations and also be creative and welcoming of others – as the Holy Family was?

We are finishing up a month of global celebrations that regardless of our own culture, offer us hope, wisdom, direction.

  • Some African-Americans are celebrating Kwanzaa and the values of unity, self-determination, collective work & responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. What roles do those play in our lives? Which might we want to focus on during the new year?

  • Some Indigenous and Pagan people just sat together and honored the Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year. Are we willing to sit with another in the darkness, knowing there is beauty and lessons to be learned… with hope and trust that the light will come?

  • Are we in a faith community like the Jewish people who gathered and realized there was not enough… in this case, oil for the important sanctuary lamp, a symbol of the holiest of holiest places in the Temple? The same can be true for our hearts – do we notice when we are getting low on what makes us shine and do we cry out to the Divine? And when we do and our prayers are answered – when there is enough oil for 8 days, do we celebrate and give thanks and remember the miracles – like Hanukah? We, too, have so many “ordinary miracles” in our days? Do we notice them? Do we have an attitude of gratitude? (Check out the song Ordinary Miracle by Sarah McLachlan

My husband is learning to do inlay woodwork. The other day he asked me to design a “quilt pattern” he could make out of wood. I chose the Log Cabin. Tradition has it that during the frontier times, as the men raised a barn for the new family joining the community, the women would make a log-cabin quilt. The light and dark colors of the quilt block symbolize the joys and sorrows of life. The red center symbolizes the hearth and heart of our lives. During the Underground Railroad, log cabin quilts with black centers were used to denote a safe stop.

As I walk the beach, I realize that this is just what we need and so I do not wish you a “happy” new year which can seem so trite this year but I offer you this blessing:

In 2022, may you be blessed

with a circle of love that honors the seasons of life and the Holy in our world

May you be willing to walk through the darkness surrounded by loved ones

May you be able to see and celebrate the signs and wonders that show the Divine is with us

May you know Divine Love more intimately and share it more abundantly.

May you cultivate an attitude of gratitude

May you be a lighthouse and a safe stop on life’s journey

May you know deep peace, hope, joy and love

May you experience health of body, mind and spirit

May you co-create something beautiful and may you learn something new.

Amen. And so it is.

PS – You may also enjoy the song “Make Something Beautiful” by Ben Rector.

PPS – I will begin leading prayer services on January 20, 2022 for people in their teens and 20s and those who love them. Join me!

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