Champagne glasses in hand, my friends and I went around the table asking what each other’s New Year’s resolutions were, exchanging hopes, dreams and plans for the year ahead. When it got to be my turn, I was left speechless. I honestly hadn’t given much thought to plans for the new year. Something in me didn’t want to make any plans, but rather to be open to letting things unfold.
Each year, I try and make a New Year’s resolution. Something to work on throughout the coming 365 days, a word to live by, a change to make….
But it seems that, while I hold fast to this resolution in the first few months of the year, the zeal with which I promised to improve, change or grow diminishes with each trip around the sun.
I didn’t want this year to be the same.
It seems fitting that in the Gospel readings during the weeks following Christmas, we read about Jesus’ early ministry, specifically the calling of his disciples. After the whirlwind of the holidays settles down, the lights are put away and the tree is taken down, we are often left wondering “what’s next?”.
I am sure the disciples did not know what lay ahead of them, upon saying yes to following Jesus. They didn’t have time to make any concrete plans or resolutions. They simply knew that in following they would find.
Here were men, not much older than my friends and I. In the same conversation we had while making our New Year’s resolutions, we also discussed how we often do not feel ready for the things that life brings our way, especially as we grow older. With all of our carefully laid plans, I couldn’t imagine having to let go of all of those, for a life of unknowns. While I usually turn to my faith in these instances, many of my friends have lost theirs and are finding it increasingly difficult in our secular culture to find a sense of peace.
The invitation in the Gospel is to “Come and see” (John 1:46).
The offer is not only for those he calls to be his disciples but for us, as well…
Around this time of year, it seems like the joy has ended and all we are left with are the dark days of a long winter that looms ahead.
What do we do with these days? Can we find joy in what seems barren?
While it seems like everything is now coming to an end, we are really just getting started. So how will we answer this call?
The Liturgical Year is just beginning, along with a new calendar year that welcomes new opportunities. New chances to come and see.
Perhaps this year I will accept the invitation to come and see…to simply be open to what God is calling me to, without making any plans of my own. To take the opportunities he lays before me.
I have often found that the times I try and make plans for myself pale in comparison to the times I let him lead the way and show me his plans for me. The results are infinitely better, as I have found things I never knew I wanted, but that he knew I needed.
As Jesus promised his disciples, “you will see greater things than these” (John 1:50). What are the great things that we will see this year when we are simply open to seeing him work in us?
Elizabeth Clyons is Communications Associate for the Diocese of Bridgeport. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.