While driving, I often listen to a station that plays the ‘old songs’ and I’m sure for many of you, these are really old songs.  I heard a song the other day, the title of which implied that the singer was ‘all alone and feeling blue’, “Me and My Shadow”.  But while a shadow may be dark, it can be a blessing, as well.  Some can appear so unimportant when they cast shadows in our path, that we completely ignore them as they pass us.  The star of Bethlehem, however, cast a shadow of light that the Magi could not disregard.  These great men paused to search the skies, their books and to follow this shadow, which led them and us to a future of hope and salvation.

As we end the year 2021 and enter the new chronological year, I hope you take time to reflect and search as the Wise Men did before you go full speed forward packing up Christmas and returning to a routine life.  Slow down and think about the shadow case by 2021 and the light that 2022 will shine in your life.  Remember, you’re a year older and a year wiser. 

Reflect on:

–the goodness and grace of God in your life;

–the personal promises you have made and their fulfillment;

–the type of service you have given to others and to your Church;

–the personal inspiration you have derived from your devotional life;

–the rewards of Orthodox Christian fellowship received in you Church, and

–the growth of your spiritual and emotional stature.

Once you have reflected on the shadow of the past year, it’s time to ask what the New Year will bring.  What opportunities and choices lie ahead?  With what spirit, attitudes, values and way of life will you meet the events and experiences of the New Year?

Some goals that can be set for the New Year are practicing gratitude, encountering the Lord daily, nurturing friendships, being a good steward in time talent and treasure, being a positive influence in your parish, becoming healthier and continuing to practice a Christian Orthodox lifestyle.

You can grow spiritually in the New year by searching your book, THE BIBLE and for your convenience, there is an Orthodox Daily Bible Reading Guide for Orthodox Christians, so that in one year you can read the entire Bible.  There is always something new to learn from it, and, in fact, that’s a personal goal for me in the New Year, too!

Hearing that old song, I am assured that I’m not alone ‘strolling down the avenue’ but that our Lord is with me and with you now and in the New Year.  Whatever 2022 will bring, I pray it be a hopeful blessing to you.  Let the New Year be one of freedom from sin, a year of renewed service to others and to your parish, full of love and dedication a year of trust in God, so it will be productive and prosperous from the beginning to the end.  The year 2022 may be the best or the hardest year you will ever know, but it can be the happiest for you if you have a strong faith in our Lord

Grasping the opportunity to reflect on the blessing of the past year, as we came out of the pandemic, sort of, and moved into the new church, my personal thoughts are a prayer of thanks for the support and love of so many.  To my co-workers in the earthly vineyard of the Lord, whom I am privileged to serve as a shepherd of His sacred work, a sincere token of appreciation and gratitude for the blessings of you.


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