Everyone rings in the new year in different ways – some quietly with family, some spending fun times with friends, some with hardly a nod to the fact that the date has even changed. My family had a fun cookout with another Marist family (in Florida of all places) before watching TV as the fireworks were going off outside to mark midnight.
On the one hand, part of me is so relieved to say “arrivederce” to 2016. I have been more than ready to close the door on this year. It was even a little frustrating to hear at Mass on January 1st that just because the year changes, it does not mean that this year will not have its share of heartaches, disappointments and challenges. Intellectually, I know this. I just always want to believe that there are better days around the corner. I want to have hope in 2017.
Somewhere in the last week I read, “Your year may change, but God remains the same.” It was comforting to know that no matter what this year brings – happiness, peace, sadness, family challenges – that God does not change, only my circumstances do. God is with me in the hardest of times, bringing me peace or helping me to cope. God is with me in my happiest moments, celebrating along with me and reminding me that He is good and all good things come from Him. God is with me as I make continued attempts to change for the better – you know, those darn New Year’s Resolutions. Or Lenten resolutions. Or July resolutions. God is always with me, and wants to see me become a better version of myself.
I have been blessed to know Fr. Josh Allen, who heads up Georgia Tech’s Catholic Center. He had some interesting thoughts about resolutions that he posted to Facebook (and I paraphrased a bit): “Friends, if you are thinking about resolutions for the new year, don’t bother. If you’re serious, you’ll start whatever it is today without delay — this very moment even. If you’re waiting for an arbitrary point of the earth rounding the sun to make a change in your life, you’re not gonna make it. Want to be a better person? Do it now. When our Lord calls, he does not tarry with delay. Each of us can change with God’s grace. Even the most profound changes. But we can’t schedule an appointment with God’s grace sometime in the future. The only moment that matters is now.”
I usually have far more resolutions than any mere mortal can be expected to follow through on. This year, I’m going to consider this one: I will recognize that God is truly with me at every moment, and to try my hardest to act in accordance with that truth – to trust more and to have more hope.