I suspect that for many of us the prospect of a new year has never been more appealing than after a year like 2020. Of course, as the first couple of weeks of 2021 have shown us, a new calendar is no promise of a better year ahead. One day, week, or month is, in the end, much like all the others.
That being said, by choosing the mark certain occasions like a new calendar year, we can also choose to instill meaning- not by some unknown mystical shift in reality, but through our conscious will- though our intentions and actions. This is not a call for heroic or epic behaviour, nor is a bid to throw ourselves on the altar of self-sacrifice (though selfless love is most certainly needed). Instead, it is an invitation to make small choices in the right direction, what is often referred to as doing "small things with great love".
While we will most certainly need to see the powers and systems in the world around us change- governments, institutions, denominations, and more- we cannot live as though our hope primarily lies in their hands. Instead, while we advocate for them to do better, engaging within those systems as we feel called, we must focus primarily on those places where we can choose to make a difference, as individuals and communities.
Last year I wrote about a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in which he reminded us that true change "will be achieved by true neighbors who are willingly obedient to unenforceable obligations". My commitment this year is find new ways to be willingly obedient to the unenforceable obligations that could make this world just a little bit better. And so I won't say to you, "Have a Happy New Year!" but instead invite you to join us as we work together to "Make a Happy New Year!".