Thursday, January 1, 2009

Opening the Book on 2009

Isn't it appropriate that Christmas, a season of renewed hope, is followed directly by the New Year, a season where hope can be put into action through reflection and planning? Remembering the birth of the Savior each December reminds me what is important in life and has the power to affect not only my assessment of the year gone by, but my preparation for the year to come. I can explore new vistas, revisit (and perhaps, revamp) old ones, take stock of past and future dreams, and find ways to turn the best of those dreams into reality.

Equally important, moving to 2009 allows a purely literal leave the sorrows and disappointments of 2008 behind. This inevitable passage of time makes room for growth and healing, easing the process of learning what I can from my travails before eventually gaining the eternal perspective needed to leave them behind in a figurative sense as well.

Let's face it. The New Year brings wonderful opportunities. While all of us are able to turn a page in our lives any day of the year, on New Year's Day we get to open a whole new book! What's more, we get to close the old one, and sometimes that can be a pretty good feeling. Most of us would probably say that 2008 held enough joy to overcome the sorrow and enough growth to offset the grief. Where this is true, we can be grateful that 2008 is a book which can always be reopened, reread, and remembered.

A few of us, though, would say that the scales for 2008 tipped in the wrong direction, that sorrow and grief held too much sway with not enough respite. For these, opening a new book...and closing the old one...becomes a breath of fresh air, an affirmation that our "afflictions shall be but a small moment," a promise of greater blessings in store. "And then, if [we] endure it well, God shall exalt [us] on high" (D&C 121:7-8).

This is a particularly encouraging reminder for people who face unusual challenges. Just following people in the news (let alone my personal friends) tells me that it's been a difficult year for many individuals and families. It's also been a year of struggle for our country. Some who remember 2008 will recall personal tragedies; others will be reminded of war and terrorism, economic and political scandals, fiscal problems and financial ruin. No matter what the problem, I am convinced comfort and hope will be found in the days and months ahead, for "after much tribulation comes the blessings" (D&C 58:4). Perhaps 2009 will not see the end of current trials; even if it does, more will follow, for adversity is part and parcel of life on earth. But those who are able to close the book on pain and open the book on possibility each New Year will be blessed with peace, and I intend to be among them.

My plan is to put the lessons of Christmas to good use by laying my burdens at His feet and receiving the peace He offers. "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4), and He will continue to do so. The invitation of One who descended below all things to redeem and sustain His people is ever present: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

As I open the book on New Year 2009 with a sense of excitement and possibility, I am going write these very words (the Savior's words) in bold print on the first page. Even more important, I am going to believe them and act accordingly.



emily said...

beautiful sue

Lisa Loo said...

I love your writing!! I always feel well fed when I leave your blog--thanx for continuing to share. Happy New Year!

Natalie said...

As always, your words are beautiful and inspiring. I will remember 2008 with fondness as I think on the new blogger friend I have found. Happy New Year Sue!

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