But before I get to that... I was drawn to prayer, and praying for this gift of a New Year.
And so as I doodled the year 2017, I was drawn to prayer.
I remember those nights with fondness, church families gathering from young children to grandparents for a very fun night of games, and awesome food.
And then, a movie, of all things, a film reel, and we were all fascinated with this amazing technology that would allow us to watch a move in church, of all things!
And then as the old year came to a close we gathered in a circle, often little ones sleeping in their mother's arms, and we might sing a song or two, and then spend time praying. And the New Year would be birthed in prayer.
I have to admit the long prayers often bored me, and I probably wasn't too engaged in the words. But it was the Presence, the seeking of our God to give us wisdom and help us through the New Year that deeply moved me, and I remember it each year.
So as I drew these simple numbers which form our year, I thought of what I would pray for... and it isn't all about asking. Part of prayer is just to acknowledge God's presence, to sit with God, to rest my heart.
As I think about this coming year, I pray for hope. For many 2016 has not been an easy year. We need hope to face an uncertain future. And as our pastor spoke of this morning, we have a certainty that God is with us, even in an uncertain future. That brings hope!
Our Advent season is complete, and I continue to pray for peace, for joy, for love. Within my own heart, for those I love, for those I experience life with, for my community both local and global.
I pray for a life filled with faith, even when I might not fully grasp the mystery of it.
I pray for wisdom. Wisdom that comes from the One who created me, not my own wisdom.
I pray for serenity. I'm drawn again to the Serenity prayer, which I pray, often:
A good way to "pray in" the New Year:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."
- Reinhold Neibuhr
Would you join with me in this prayer as we walk into this New Year?