If you’re like me, January can sometimes be a bit of a drag. After all the build up of the last 2 months, the coldness and reality of the let down of getting back to banal routine can leave me dragging my feet into the new year.
But, I’ve found that the new year always beckons with it’s possibilities and fresh starts, like the sparks of light that push through the darker winter days.
I’ve been thinking about things that spark possibility for me as I walk through January, and I’m sharing a few.
The most important spark for me is reflecting on the past year and God’s hand on my life, and looking for direction as I walk into a new year. Whether it’s the whisper of a word (or two or three) or a phrase for the year, it gives me something I can nurture, cultivate and ruminate on as I walk through the year. The word isn't a goal I have to strive to achieve that year. Rather, it's something that I ponder and let sprout and grow as a part of the lifestyle for the year. I usually don’t choose a word for myself, I let it be revealed to me during my time of prayer and reflection.
Another big spark is celebrating with seasonal decor at home. At the turn of any season, I always change out the decor on my mantel and my dining table centerpiece. For me, doing this is a way to savor the changes and possibilities as I step into the new season. For winter at home, I keep some of the greens from my Christmas tree and garden, and add touches of white and metallics. I find that, in the whiteness and simplicity, I can picture a calm entrance into the new year, rather than one of rushing in.
Also important is looking for things that spark creativity and inspire me, whether it's an image out in nature, in a good book, an article in a magazine, or time spent nurturing friendships. These sparks of inspiration propel me forward as I look into the next season.
Another thing for me is starting something new - a new book(or a new genre of book), a new book club or Bible study, a new hobby. I wish I could add a new exercise routine at the beginning of the year, but that somehow doesn’t happen usually.
Last, and definitely, not the least, I look for ways to spark possibility across the globe and locally for marginalized women by helping create economic opportunities and sharing about ways to bring hope and freedom by purchasing goods made by survivors of trafficking and those overcoming poverty. I love the idea of tangible ways to reweave shalom as we walk with others through the year.
I think I'll add one more that's important to me- anticipating and planning a good celebration, a vacation for the new year. I also love adding smaller celebrations to mark something for each month(not just the big obvious ones for some like Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine’s Day). Maybe for Jan/Feb this year it might be Beat the winter blues/Chinese New Year. To quote from Anne of Green Gables, “O Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.”
So here’s to 2022, and looking for things that spark possibility all through the year!