Living in Hope in the New Year

By Barbara Baker, MHSH

New Year’s resolutions don’t often remain past the first few weeks of the new year, but trying to live life more fully and with greater hope can win us the prize of a grateful heart.

How many times have we said, or heard others say, “I hope the new year is better than last year?” These words may reflect the many losses and challenges experienced by people we know and by the many more that we have never met. What could make life better next year?

Perhaps entering into 2011 with a fresh attitude of hope and the desire to make some necessary adjustments in our lives such as keeping in touch with friends and family. Maybe it will be looking for the positive side of life rather than at what we don’t have. Perhaps we should spend more quality time developing our prayer life and reaching out to others in service. The list of what might make this year a better one goes on and on.

The solemnities of the Nativity and Epiphany, together with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, are the three “manifestation feasts.” Epiphany was the original celebration of God’s manifestation and included both the birth and the baptism of Jesus.

The celebration of Christmas as a manifestation came later, and in the West it eventually became the principal observance of Jesus’ birth. In celebrating this great feast, we are invited to enter into the great hope of a savior who, out of sheer love for us, chose to become incarnate and live with and among us.

Thank about what excites and invites you into the New Year of 2011.

Ask yourself how you will recognize the manifestations of Jesus Christ in your life circumstance.

What difference will you make in the lives you encounter in 2011?

How will you be a manifestation of Jesus Christ in 2011?

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