Blessings in the New Year 2023!

Thank you, dear God, for delivering us to a New Year! May 2023 free us from all fears and bring us a renewed hope for respect of the great gift of life and all creation. May we be protected from illness, strife, war and natural disasters. May we be ever mindful that Jesus is the center, the reason and the motivation for all that we do. May we put Him first in all things, striving to serve our good and loving God through service to others. Amen.

This new year brings hope and promise—more than others. There has been so much sadness and strife in our rear-view mirrors from the past few years. Many of us were not prepared for all of the losses, the illness, the anxieties that we endured. Many of us are in shock, numb and in disbelief—yet, we move forward, clinging to life in every way possible. Singing, celebrating and decorating every holiday and joy that has come our way. What else were we to do? The great gift of life is something we deeply cherish. And when coming face-to-face with death and loss, we choose life! Even when those we deeply loved clung with desperation to life, we urged them on, we begged them to remain with us. We prayed to God in ways we never prayed before to spare us and those we loved. And yet, here we are. The victims, survivors and thrivers. Death, war, destruction and sadness has claimed those we love—and we move forward with their memory strong in our minds and hearts, convicted with the charge to bring them everywhere with us. They are here now in our hearts and in our memories. Their spirit fills, remains and inspires us to continue in their memory.

This is where Joy comes from—acknowledging that we are deeply and tremendously loved by God and that His will for us includes happiness and joy. God never leaves us; He is always there. We cannot embrace the joy without accepting the pain and loss. We helped each other and were present to each other's needs in His name. May this spirit continue and may 2023 bring only good things to your door forevermore.

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