As we start a new year, it's time for new resolutions! What's on your list this time around? Maybe the usual classics like exercising or watching what you eat. Or something stimulating like listening to an interesting podcast or reading a good book. Perhaps getting your creative juices flowing by taking up music or art.
The resolution we can often miss is the most essential one: receiving the year as a gift from God.
Every good thing in life is a gift from God. But do we receive it? Do we realize that it's given to us? Do we recognize the Giver?
Amidst the challenges and problems we face, we can often miss the bigger picture. Everything we have and everything we are is given to us.
The world is given to us. Our lives are given to us. Each day is given to us.
The Giver of all these gifts is a God who is good. The gifts are good because the Giver is good.
So how about resolving, all of us, to receive this year as God's gift?
There will be ups and downs, no doubt about it! But God will be faithful to us. He will never abandon us. He is especially close to us during the times when our boat is battered by the waves, when the days are cloudy. He does not take the waves or shadows away; He gives us everything we need to keep going, to keep receiving more and more deeply. How can we see our family members, friends, colleagues, work, and all the little things in life as a gift from God? How can we become more aware of the invisible gifts that God gives us – faith, hope, loving care, generosity, perseverance, energy, dreams, and deep desires? How can we ask God to open us more and more to all that He wants to give us this year?
Mary is our model in how to receive.
She let herself be totally filled by God so that through her He could enter our world. Mary's life was not always easy, straightforward, or painless. But she kept putting her trust in God, believing in His promises, and opening herself to receive all His gifts – most of all, the gift of Jesus, present, close to us, and living in our midst.
This year, let us receive what God wants to give us. Let us receive every day as His gift. Like Mary, let us receive the gift of God Himself
: Jesus who is the light in our shadows, who is with us in the boat even when the waves are choppy, and who fills our heart with peace, love, and joy.
Mary, open us to receive this year as God's gift. Teach us to receive Jesus more and more, for He never ceases giving Himself to us.
Jesus, fill us as You filled Mary. Fill this year. Our lives are humble mangers, come dwell in us.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at email@example.com.