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New Year Renewal

Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Dear Friends in Christ,

Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year! Each new year, we look back and we look ahead. We consider where we’ve been and where we’re going. Some of us have hopes and dreams, but the ones who realize some of those dreams take concrete steps to get there. What concrete steps will you take in the new year to grow closer with God?

This process is similar to an old Christian practice called the “prayer of examen.” We examine our past to see where we grew close to God and where we grew away from God. Then we look ahead to the future before us and look and listen for where God is calling us closer and how we might step forward in response to that call. As a regular discipline, we do this just for the day past and the day ahead. At New Year’s, we cast a wider view, asking where the sum of all those days pointed, and considering what new habits in the year ahead will steer us closer to God.

One theme that I have seen, and preached about on Christmas Eve, is a growing self-isolation in our culture. We’ve drifted into it more and more in recent years, and often we feel stuck in place. The opposite of isolation is relationship. What steps will you take in the next year to build relationships over time with others? What steps will you take to build relationships in Christ with others together? What, then, do the next few days look like? God bless you as you pray and discern the path ahead. And let me and your brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Peter & St. Paul walk that path with you.

Yours in Christ,

-Tom

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