One of my end-of-years practices is to find quiet time during the holidays for the purpose of reviewing the year(s) past, and for looking ahead to the coming year. (My future-imagining is dependent on joy- and gratitude-filled recollections of the past.) It’s one of the life rituals that I cherish highly.
The lengthening string of my years stretches past easy recollection. As I sift through Christmas cards and letters—especially the ones chock-full of news about long-loved friends and relatives—I am drawn back into recalling decades of close relationships with dear people, significant events and crossroad decisions that Chris and I have made.
What comes of these reminiscences? Sometimes a period of “praying the map”—imagining myself soaring over parts of distant geographies, sending God my hopes for specific people who live in those places. Sometimes I just sit quietly, smiling at the memories that come flooding in. There’s always joy that comes from recalling the ways our children and grandchildren make history. Mostly I think about how these remarkable people have given us so much and changed us forever.
I remember how Chris and our family have journeyed through the events of world history, how we have been undeservedly blessed. I recall the rich heritage that connects me to my ancestors, to the rest of God’s people, to God’s own self.
Arising out of the memories is also a strengthened sense of responsibility—stewardship—for the present and future course of my life. Using God’s gifts with care, recommitting myself to what’s righteous and necessary. Pledging myself—as an increasingly Ancient One—to look forward with hope, courage and creative energy.
By these words I invite you into that same possibility: Seeing the fullness of your (past) years at quiet moments during these holidays.
God keep you joyful!
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