It’s funny how strangely calm I feel each year while heading back home from New Years service at my church. Outside, Park Street is teeming with life and energy. Sounds of hoots, whistles and noisy bugles being blown drown out the muted wishes of church goers, the lights are blinding, almost as if the party is just getting started. The air is filled with pulsating energy and yet I leave Church with the clam, still reassurance that my year is in the hands of my savior. The noise outside is just noise – I know it is there, random strangers rattle the windows of the taxi I’m in – screaming wishes and smiling like they’ve known me for years – but all I can hear is the sound of my thoughts.
This is one of my favorite times of the year because it is a natural break in all the frenzied activity of the previous 12 months. It is also a natural time for one of the most important things we can do as sentient thinking beings—reflect. By reflecting I mean thinking about the things and people who have been important to us over the past year— acknowledging God’s provision, protection and faithfulness, thinking over what we’ve learned about ourselves in the past year, what we’ve learned about others, where we excelled and where we fell short, and what we want to accomplish in the year ahead. As the old year draws to a close and a new cycle is about to begin, I contemplate all my friendships – that important strand in life’s weave that matter so much. Some beginnings, some endings, some developing and a few dissolving.
The taxi comes to a screeching halt outside our house, the driver is in a hurry to return to the heart of the city, he’s clearly making the most of the frenzy and charges us an exorbitant amount of money for a journey that hardly costs fifty rupees. The streets are lined with people dancing, singing and hugging in spite of Calcutta’s freakishly cold weather. The city is in her festive finery and fireworks light up the early morning sky.
Inside my house it is still and warm. The lights from the Christmas tree cover the room in a sparkly warm glow. We curl up on our parents’ bed. There’s cake, coffee, banter and gifts all around. And when sleep comes calling we begin the year praying together for each other, for ourselves and for you. As a family. That’s always been our tradition. Always will be.
I hope this new year brings you love, happiness, health, beauty and blessings. And when times get tough and things don’t go your way (and that will happen, I can assure you) I hope you remember that you are loved and thought of.
Happy New Year, to each of you who read this. May 2013 be everything you want it to be and then some.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future – Jeremiah 29:11