The Year (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that’s the burden of the year.


(“The Year” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 19th century poet; in the public domain.)

For The Holidays

Already I’m eager

for turkey and stockings,

for pumpkin pie next to apple pie,

for mulled cider and secretive shopping,

for “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night.”

But first let me remember: no messenger or angel,

no holiday feast or Christmas pageant,

no gift-shopping or gift-wrapping,

no gathering or traveling

can substitute

for the One Holy God

whose life of reckless loving

and whose endless love for reconciling

are above all, through all, and in all

— but most of all greater than —

the festive trappings.

Let me remember now

so that I can repeat it again

amidst the jingly ads and holiday frappes:

God is my hope and my joy, my comfort and my surprise!

This I will seek through the anticipation and the busyness,

among the pageant angels and UPS messengers,

despite holiday blues or family chaos:

God my hope!

God my joy!

God my comfort!

God my surprise!


New Year’s Blessing

With the rising sun
as with the rising new year:
may your faith be bright-eyed
with hope;
may your voice
be quick with song;
may your every breath
take in grace;
may your eyes see wonder,
your ears hear the trees whisper,
and your hands open wide
to convey welcome;
and may your load be light —
not because you are without cares,
but because you remember
that God is enough.

On the Verge of New

God of the dawn, God of the springtime,
today I need the good news that “new” isn’t an annual opportunity

but a daily gift

a blessing given even before I threw back the covers this morning.

Save me from the belief (vanity, really) that I am somehow stuck

within myself
within habits
within circumstances

that can only be changed with the annual turning of a calendar page.

Even now I hear you laughing, “My daughter, that’s hardly the case!

I am newness.
I am life.
I am resurrection.

No moment, no routine, no relationship is beyond my power.

God of the hibernating seed, God of the growing child,
bless me with the joy and flexibility to live into the gift
of new,

to celebrate

and to have the courage to be on the verge with you.