“Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.” — Isaiah 43:18-19
It is easy for us to look back on 2021 (or even 2020) and only remember the misery of the pandemic. Life has been quite different in a negative way for most of the world. Many people got sick, and many people lost loved ones. But the verse above reminds us to not look behind us, to not dwell on the past no matter how miserable it was. There is nothing we can do to change it and our Lord reminds us that he has new things in store for us.
“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11
As many of us are not celebrating New Year’s Eve as we usually would with parties and extravagant celebrations, let’s instead take the time to self-reflect and spend time with God. Parties are cancelled, people are sick and in quarantine – so let’s take advantage and use the time for our spiritual benefit. It might be God’s way of asking for our undivided attention for our own personal benefit and gain.
Let us also observe some spiritual exercises below from Father Daoud Lamei as a way to start this new year in a blessed manner.
- Repent from your sins and take the opportunity to sit with your father of confession to start the year with a new slate.
- Reflect on broken promises and goals you had set last year and make a stronger effort to do them this year.
- Take a few hours of silent time. Time without electronics or interruptions. A spiritual quiet meditation simply thinking about God’s goodness in your life.
- Forgive anyone you have any issues with. Reach out to them. Say you are sorry and do not play the blame game. Do not enter the new year with grudges!
- Spend the night at church. Many of the Orthodox churches have daily late all-night prayers. Make it a point to spend one night a year at least at church.
- Memorize a Psalm. Pick a Psalm you like and repeat it, write it and say it out loud until you have memorized it.
- Daily mass and communion. Many Orthodox churches also offer daily masses and communion. It might be a great cleanse to decide on a week of church every day. How beautiful it is to start the year with the saving body of Christ, daily!
- Name specific people in your prayers. Pray for others and say their names in your prayer. Don’t just bunch them all up. Specify their names and what you are praying for.
- Imagine the end of the world. Not in a morbid or negative way, but ask yourself what would you do if this was the last year? How much time would you spend with God and how would you deal with others?
- Re-read your own notes and reflections from last year if you are a writer. What did you tell yourself in the last year? Did you make any promises to God or yourself that you did not keep? Skip through your journal if you have one, to find out.
- Give. Be charitable. Find ways to give back. Research charities, help at church, donate your clothes, or donate food. There are innumerable ways to give back.
- Read spiritual books. Aside from your daily Bible reading, find spiritual books of the saints and read them. They are filled with golden wisdom for your benefit.
- Take a good look at your household and the loved ones around you. How have you treated them? How can you improve your dealings with them in care and love?
- Bring someone new to your church. We have a duty to introduce more people to the Word of God. Invite a friend to church with you. Or share with him or her the online church mass link on Sunday.
- Look at your own mistakes and sins and reflect on them. How can you improve yourself? How can you reduce your anger, jealousy, or worry?
May God bless you all with a wonderful new year filled with happiness and joy. No matter what tribulations we might face now, let’s keep our eyes on the source of all joy our Lord Jesus Christ.
“You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11
One thought on “Happy New Year!”
لتحل البركات والخيرات على جميع المؤمنين بالرب يسوع ونطلب من الرب ان يمنحنا القدره على بدء السنه الجديده بحياة طاهره نقيه ترضىي الرب🙏🏼