“New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.” ~ Charles Lamb
Beginnings are always so important and special. They give us a chance to celebrate and to look ahead. There is something about being given a “fresh slate” upon which to write the story of our lives. New Year’s Day is one of those days.
I wish parishioners Happy Birthday a few times each year. There are, of course, our biological birthdays. They are very special; though, as we grow older, some do not like to be reminded of them. There is our celebration of the birth of the Church, Pentecost Sunday. I always begin my homily with a hearty Happy Birthday. There are other annual moments that are somewhat of a birthday feel.
Today is one of those moments. That is why the New Year has always been pictured as a new born babe. The New Year comes in as a new baby, fresh and unblemished. By the end of the year, worry and stress has turned the new baby into a grumpy, old man. A New Year gives us new perspective, new hope, new chances. There is a feeling that the old has been washed away and that any mistakes made can be forgiven and any stumbles can be remedied.
As we begin anew, we place ourselves in God’s hands. We begin each year dedicating it to Mary, the Mother of God. Mary was a woman of great faith. She knew that her response to God would have serious consequences but she chose to do God’s will because she saw herself, first and foremost, as God’s handmaid.
Nothing in the past could have prepared her for the moment that she was asked to be the mother of Jesus Christ. At least, nothing in the world. However, her past was not steeped in the world. Her past was steeped in God. She prayed regularly and devoutly. She had a deep faith and trust in God. She begged Him to deliver His people as He had promised of old. When she was asked to be a part of that grand plan, she did not hesitate but said yes and embraced God’s will.
We begin each year hoping that we will be better than the year before. We want to be healthier, happier, and more fulfilled. We can be all of those things if we work on our spiritual lives as well as our physical ones. Let us do all that we can so that, when God asks anything of us, we may say yes to God’s will as Mary did.
FAITH ACTION: Spend some time today at rest and ask God to bless this New Year for you and your family and friends.