In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. what has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  –John 1:1-5

Today marks a new beginning–that of a brand new year. For many people this beginning means an opportunity to make promises and resolutions for how they hope to conduct themselves or manage their lives for 2012. There will be plenty of resolutions to lose weight, eat better, and work on becoming healthier. Other folks will resolve to spend less, save more, and rid themselves of consumer debt. Still other individuals will resolve to be kinder, to appreciate life more, or to find ways to help those in need.

Resolutions are not bad; in fact, they can be quite helpful in providing focus and direction. Sometimes, however, I wonder if we can become so focused on our resolutions that we neglect the beginning itself. We humans so love to plan, chart our course, and have goals and maps spread before us, to keep our eye on the prize, and our feet moving forward. Again, this is not wrong, but we miss something when we fail to honor and live with the beginning itself.

Today, for example, I worshiped with the good folks at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran where I am called to serve. For me, the opportunity to worship and offer thanks and praise to the source of all life, the Creator of the Universe, was the perfect way to honor the beginning of a new year. It helped set the tone for what I hope to be about in the coming months and on whom and what I desire to focus. For the disciple of Christ, the beginning is God, and all things, all life flows from that divine source.

Even if that is not your focus or the path on which you are walking, I invite you to spend this first week contemplating and simply honoring this new beginning. Don’t fret about resolutions and promises just yet. Live in the moment. Be grateful for the beginning of each new day of this first week of a new year. Let the past go. Leave last year behind you, and for at least these seven days live in the present moment. Live in the beginning. Resist the urge to plow ahead, cover ground, and strive for progress. Just be. Just begin. Give thanks for the blessing of this new beginning.

For Further Reflection…

Light a candle. Commit to spending at least 10 minutes on this exercise.

Focus on the words from the first five verses of John’s gospel (printed above). Read the passage aloud. Meditate on the words and the concept of the Word being present at the beginning of time as well as now at the beginning of a new year. Watch how the light of one candle does indeed overcome darkness, bringing warmth and hope. Know that God is good. Know that the Divine architect of the universe is with you, written deeply into your DNA. The “ruach” or breath of the Spirit flows in and out of you. Resist the urge to let the cares and concerns of your world disrupt your experience of the present moment.

When you are finished, give thanks for new light and new beginnings. Go gently into your day or to your rest.

(Photo by spcbrass used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!)

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