As we move closer to the New Year and that threshold Eve between 2021 and 2022, I’ve been thinking of the Israelites standing at the Eve of their entry into the Promised Land.
What do you imagine they were thinking, feeling, and saying as they stood at that Eve and looked onto the Promised Land? What are you thinking, feeling, and saying as you come to that Eve and look onto 2022?
Will 2022 be a Promised Land for us? What promise does it hold? What will threaten that promise? What are you hoping for? What do you need in 2022? What will you take with you from 2021? Wilderness land is not necessarily waste land. Even the wilderness can be a place of growth and gift, a place where angels minister to us (Mark 1:13).
What gifts did 2021 offer you? What have you learned about yourself? What do you need to let go of or leave behind? What amends do you need to make, with yourself or another, so you can enter that new land without the baggage of guilt or regret? What do you need to celebrate and give thanks for? And what do you need to confess or forgive? What is asking for your time, attention, and best efforts?
How do we want to be in this new place and time? I don’t know if that’s what the Israelites were asking themselves but I think it’s the question before us on this threshold Eve, and it is about more than a change in scenery or a changing of the calendar.
This threshold Eve is not about the New Year only. It is also about the One who brings us to this new place and time. December 31 is both New Year’s Eve and the Eve of the Feast of The Holy Name, Jesus. That those two Eves coincide is a reminder that our hopes and longings for the Promised Land of 2022 are not in changed circumstances but in Jesus whose name means God saves.
A Prayer for the Threshold Eve*
O God our Creator, you have divided our life into days and seasons, and called us to acknowledge your providence year after year: Accept our praise and thanksgiving for this past year, and hear our prayers for the coming year. Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, Jesus. Grant that we who begin this year in his Name, may complete it to his honor and glory. Pardon our transgressions of the past, and guide us by your Holy Spirit that we may turn our feet into your paths, serve you in peace, and live in your presence. All this we ask in the holy name of your Son, Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
* This prayer is a compilation of excerpts from the collect for The Holy Name (Book of Common Prayer, 213) and prayers from a Service for New Year’s Eve (The Book of Occasional Services, 42-45).