Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Blessing for the New Year

(Remarks as prepared for the Ritual of the New Year, January 3, 2015. Dedicated in memory of Dan Ha)

The most important part of any gathering is the guests. Not the music, not the location, not the food. So thank you for coming here.

The year is young. Like all young things it has great potential to surprise those who give it life, with disappointment or delight. How the events of the year will unfold is not under our complete control, but we can give to it a good beginning. We can start the year with goodness and love, put forward our best intentions, and pray that our actions today will echo forward through time, to guide us for one more trip around the sun.

On Christmas Eve I received a blessing from a Jesuit priest. He said “Bless you and all you care for, in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost”. It struck me that this was a very big blessing, I wonder if it was bigger than he realized. It was both a blessing and a challenge in disguise, because the responsibility lay on me to determine its size. All whom I care for could be limited to only myself, or it could be limitless.

Know that its circumference extends to you.

People think of the New Year as an occasion of rejuvenation or rebirth. But that doesn't sound quite right to me. Both of those words imply going back to some previous state, and we can’t go back. Instead, I see each year as a process of evolution and discovery. In that spirit I have prepared a blessing for tonight.

A Blessing for a New Year
by Jacob Lyles

In this new year I bless you.
May you grow and unfold with the passage of time
according to your nature
and share with others the gifts given only to you
knowing that to hoard gifts is to squander them
(worse than never receiving them at all)

May you know the bigness of a caring heart
May you know the perception of a still mind
May you know the joy of a purposeful being
May you know the comfort of knowledge and maturity

Time never stops. All things change into other things. Even the most heavenly joy does not last forever upon this Earth.
But with each passing comes new life
and by that we know that god is fundamentally kind.

We are all older now. The gifts we have are fading, like wilting flowers in a vase. May we have the wisdom to recognize the new gifts time brings to us, as fresh as the gifts that we first took pride in.

When you are afraid, may you feel loved
When you are full of love, may you be moved to act
And may this new year bring you closer to what you are meant to be