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Blown by God towards newness

Last night – new year’s eve – was interesting. It was quiet and low key as I’ve been battling a cold. I had plans for a rambunctious games night to welcome in the new year but then didn’t quite feel up to having people over. I was inspired to put together the music for the youth band that I am leading. Quite the fun, yet challenging experience to arrange music for the young musicians of varying abilities and with instruments I’ve never played. I am quite pleased with my first arrangement and am now in the process of transcribing to paper so that the musicians can play what I hear in my mind. And then the countdown to new year’s began.

If I wasn’t feeling sick, I might have done cartwheels while I heard fireworks go off in the neighbourhood and listened to Carolyn Arends’ New Year’s Day. I am excited to enter a new year! Not that the old one was one I wanted to do away with – but because I am excited to see what God is going to do in and through me.

For those who know my story well, the stretch between Christmas and new year’s is the most challenging week in the calendar. I dread Christmas, but I manage every year to get through it. People open their doors, people remember me, and I grit my teeth and bear it. But that isn’t possible for long as eventually it catches up to me. The holiday week is a time when most people I know are busy and it is hard for me to ask for support when I know people are busy with family or on vacation or whathaveyou. Add to that some pretty bad choices on my part and efforts to not embrace another year, and this is a time that is typically pretty brutal.

But I made it! It is 2014 and the dreaded week is over. There is relief – but more than that – there is excitement! 2013 was a pretty incredible year of watching God work in and through me, in and through my circumstances, and in and through the people I have come into contact. I am totally excited about what God will do in the year 2014.

I’m excited for the new beginnings that a new year brings as Carolyn Arends writes:

One more chance to start all over/ One more chance to change and grow/ One more chance to grab a hold of grace/ and never let it go

The song also reminds us that every day is a brand new day with new opportunities. Every day is a chance to live for God, to see God, to know God, to love God. Every day is a chance to experience God and his love. As I explored other songs for the youth band, I was reminded of Matt Redman’s 10,000 reasons:

The sun comes up/ It’s a new day dawning/ It’s time to sing your song again/ Whatever may pass/ And whatever lies before me/ Let me be singing till the evening comes

You’re rich in love/ And you’re slow to anger/ Your name is great/ And your heart is kind/ For all your goodness/ I will keep on singing/ Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

It’s pretty cool to look ahead at the coming year and think about the wonders God will show me and the ten thousand reasons (or more!) God will give me to praise him this coming year. It’s cool to embrace 2014 and want to sing God’s praises and thank him for a new year. It’s pretty cool to embrace the newness of the day knowing that God walks before, beside and behind me.

Last year, I posted a prayer for the new year by St. Francis. This year, I have a prayer by Walter Brueggemann that speaks to where I find myself in the newness of this year – blown by God, fueled by God, filled by God:

The news is that God’s wind is blowing.

It may be a breeze that

cools and comforts.

It may be a gust that

summons you to notice.

It may be a storm that blows you where you have

never been before.

Whatever the wind is in your life,

pay attention to it…

and the blessing of God,

Father, Son, and Spirit,

will abide with you always

– Walter Brueggemann, Blown by God towards Newness, In: Prayers for a Privileged People

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