Happy New Year! Welcome to 2021!

On the one hand, the end of one year and the start of another is an imaginary, somewhat arbitrary thing. Yes, the rotation around the sun is 365 days– give or take. But the actual day? That was just something a king decreed and everyone agreed to… (well not everyone, April Fools decided they liked the start of their year where it had been). And yet, knowing this, we still celebrate New Year’s Eve. The ball drop (or the many other things we humans drop to celebrate the year), the traditional song, the resolutions– and most important, the sense of an ending and a new beginning.  I think we celebrate the fiction of New Year’s because we need that belief, that feeling that hope for endings and a new beginning. I know I did this year.

I did feel a sense of hope on New Year’s Eve. A letting go. A looking forward. I hope you did too. Hope is a good thing.  Unfortunately, many of us attach our hope to unreasonable expectations. Things are going to change. We are going to change. Things will be different– you’ll see! And then in first days and weeks of the New Year, we realize that most things are exactly as they were. Change is hard. It doesn’t happen overnight. Heck– it takes me two weeks just to remember to write the New Year on my checks and papers. (Though maybe not this year… I am really glad to say goodbye to 2020.) Hope isn’t unreasonable, nor is it the make-believe. Hope is the belief that we can make a difference, that our actions matter.

This year, I have hope that we will come to the other side of this pandemic. Friends have already received vaccinations. I have hope that we will address some of the horrific things our government did these past four years. We have a new president who WILL be sworn into office this month. (Our democracy survives– though that wasn’t a sure thing.) As I write this, the polls have closed for the special run-off election in Georgia– and the race is too close to call. But I do have hope there as well. I have hope that UUC will be meeting in person in the sanctuary by the end of the year. Originally, the date was placed at May by our UUA leaders and many thought that was overly cautious. Standing where we are now, I think May is highly unlikely. But this year? This year I can see. There is light at the end of this tunnel.

I want to celebrate our reaching 2021 while acknowledging that all of us did. I want to congratulate us on finding new ways, muddling through, and making things work– while also holding in our hearts those that have been lost and broken and barely hanging on. We are not at the end of this. But we are at a point where we can finally see the end. And that is enough for me to have Hope. That is something I am glad to celebrate.

Last year, my mantra was “Pivot, Adapt, Muddle Through.”
This year, I think I’m going with “Remember, Reconnect, and Reimagine.”

Happy New Year, Beloveds.

Rev. Craig