Your New Calendar

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

It’s a routine we go through every year as one year ends and another begins – the discarding of old calendars and the display of the new. I suppose it’s a little different for the avant-garde who have abandoned paper calendars for electronic ones. But for traditionalists like me, it’s time to change calendars – in the office, on our desks, and on the kitchen wall.
A personal little routine I go through every New Year’s Eve is to page through the departing calendar, day-by-day, and relive the events of the past year – the good days and bad, the moments of joy and sorrow, the successes and failures. At the end of my review I close the book, literally, and say a prayer of acceptance and thanksgiving to God for all that he sent me during the past year.
But what of the new year? For while it’s easy to reminisce about the past, it’s impossible to predict the future. Oh we know that the Scriptures will be fulfilled – that there will be “an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (Eccl 3:1) And so without a doubt there will again be good and bad days, moments of joy and sorrow, successes and failures. We can predict these things because they happen every year, for everyone, don’t they?
But what will you do with the events that’ll come your way? For they are, after all, just the raw materials God places in your hands. What you fashion from these natural human resources is up to you. Will you take charge of your life or shrink away in a fatalistic expression of doom and gloom? Will you try to see God’s plan in everything that happens, or turn against him in despair? Will you retreat behind the walls of your own concerns or emerge through open gates to engage and relate to others?
In short, what you make of the new year is, to a large degree, up to you.
But one other thing we can predict of the new year is that God will be with you, but only if you are fully open to his presence and providence in your life. So, in the new year, resolve to be strong in faith and to stay close to God. If you do that, in the end everything will be okay. I promise.
Something to think about: What are your plans and expectations for the New Year?