Happy New Year!

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard

Today, tonight, on this final day of 2020, we can reflect on the previous year and pave the way into the new year. Every “new year” brings a mixed bag of emotions and memories, but 2020 will surely be remembered for a long, long, time. We have spent nearly the whole year living through a pandemic and there has been conflict and tension on our soil and around the world. These have been unprecedented times!

Let’s turn the page. The fresh calendar year brings hope for things to be better and a chance to heal from the struggles of the past year. Praying and reflecting at the start of the New Year doesn’t bring immediate change (it took us 12 months to get to this point), but they do allow us to open our hearts to God’s words of hope and peace.

Regardless of how you passed the last year – whether it was one of the greatest of your life or that you are incredibly happy to see it come to an end – one truth rings true for all of us: We are not alone, ever. We are blessed that our God is with us always.

New Year’s Eve is celebrated by nearly everyone around the world. It is the marking of our 365-day journey around the sun, making us a little bit older as well as a little bit wiser. As Christians, we have the gift and Grace to enter this next year on the heels of the celebration of the birth of Christ, the genuine reminder that He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Let us pause as we step into the New Year to pause and reflect on this past year and step into 2021.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
~ Revelations 21:5

Now, before we get lost in the daily routine, I would like to invite all of us to consider the following questions, intentionally reflective. Reflection is a powerful process because it requires us to step back from our everyday happenings. We’re invited to look at the bigger picture with a broader perspective. Let’s do it now, before we get lost in 2021!

  1. What will you remember 2020 for?
    What were personal highlights? What were the moments worth remembering? Were there any important milestones?
  2. What are you proud of?
    We are programmed to run from one thing to the next. Seldom do we pause to reflect and give ourselves credit. Now is the perfect time to do so. What ARE you proud of? And equally important, what have members of your family and your friends accomplished about which you are proud? How did they grow, improve, achieve their goals? Make sure to affirm their accomplishments and successes.
  3. What was your biggest challenge?
    Let’s face it, 2020 will be remembered for the pandemic and the election. What beyond that did not work last year? What was your biggest challenge? And it may still be ongoing – A painful issue, a limiting belief, a difficult relationship. Identify it! Be brave! Naming it can be the most difficult part of this reflection. Now, what is the lesson this challenge was trying to teach you?
  4. What did you learn about yourself?
    The relationship you have with yourself is the most important of your life. Invest some effort into getting to know yourself better. For example, what did you learn about yourself this year? What did your challenges, conflicts, troubles, emotions, highlights, and successes teach you about yourself?
  5. What word describes last year the best?
    This reflection can lead to a great conversation in the living room!
  6. How will you simplify your life in the New Year?
    Did you know that the word “resolution” comes from a Latin expression that means “to reduce” or “to simplify?” So, instead of adding more goals or actions to your life, this about how to simplify your life. Can you discard something? Can you let go of something – hidden emotions, for example? Reduce? Consciously neglect. Do it! Maybe purging something from your life will create room for new things.
  7. What do you want more of in the New Year?
    This is a deeper reflection than simply saying time and money.  What else? Remember, when we simplify our life, we open up room for more good things! What is it that you want more of? Maybe it’s a deeper connection or more meaningful conversations with family and friends, more uninterrupted creative time, more ideas, more people, more devotion to things you find meaningful, or more good rest!
  8. How will you recharge in the New Year?
    Remember, we are “reducing” and “simplifying”. It’s easy to say we’ll work on “more” of something – exercise more, work more, earn more. But how will you strategically recharge or refill your “tank?” It’s impossible to continuously withdraw from your energy reserve without putting something back in – whether physical or spiritual. What are your favorite ways to energize and make time to do those things.

I hope that you will spend a few moments (ok, maybe more than a few moments) taking time to thoughtfully respond to those questions or to create your own. When we wake up on January 1, we will have prepared ourselves for a new beginning!

All of us at St. Catherine of Siena Academy wish you a happy and healthy New Year!  God bless!