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 a voice saying to us:
“I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!” Imagine!Henri Nouwen
As we enter a new year it feels like the perfect time to reflect on life and to dream about the future. This past year for me, and I’m guessing many of you, has been full of transitions, prayers, trusting in God and dreaming about what could be. If just one year ago you would have told me that I would be sitting here writing an article for the newsletter at Zion Lutheran in Buffalo, my response would have been, “where’s Buffalo?” A lot can change in a year. This year has been full of new life and promise and I am looking forward to all the new life that is promised in the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Henri Nouwen, the author of the quote above, helps us to see how each moment of life really is a new beginning, and a gift. It is easy to take life for granted, to simply go through the motions; get through the day. But God has promised us life, life abundant, life full of love and blessings. I know I, maybe all too often, have some sort of countdown going. A countdown to the next big event in life, maybe a vacation or a visit from someone or maybe a countdown to an event like going to the theater or a sporting event. Countdowns help us to wait for something, but I wonder if they also help us to not embrace each day for the gift it is.
When we are children we are eager to grow up. Often youth will say, when I am an adult I will be able to… (fill in the blank). Then when we reach adulthood we say things like, “when I have a good job I can…” or “when I pay off my student loans I can…” or “when I own my own house…” etc., etc., etc. Then as we age we start to say things like “when I get that next promotion I can…” or “when I retire I will be able to…” etc., etc., etc. We are often all too quick to want to see the next thing in life happen, and we forget that each day really is a new beginning, a gift to be explored, used and lived. If we are always simply looking to the future then I do believe we forget to live in the present. To see and appreciate the small things in life. Living in the present means seeing the beauty when the sun is shining or the joy in a neighbor’s smile or the enjoyment of a task completed. Living in the present means putting the phone down at dinner and enjoying conversation with those you are with, it means listening, truly listening, to someone with an opposing view point, it means listening for the sounds of nature sleeping during this time of winter.
So as this new year rolls around, what are some ways that you can see each day for the gift from God is truly is? Each morning God says to us, “I have a gift for you and I can’t wait for you to see it.” Life can easy get away from us, the tasks of daily life can become dull and monotonous, but each minute of each day is a gift. I wonder what 2017 would look like if each day we reminded ourselves of the gift we have been given. So here is a challenge to you, find a place in your house that you can write a note to yourself, a place you will look every day—like the bathroom mirror or the coffee cup cupboard. Write yourself a note that says, “I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it.” It is only when we are looking for the gift and the blessings of each new day that we will be able to see it.
Happy New Year! May each day of this new year be filled with love, laughter and all that God has to offer.