Thursday, January 11, 2024

Welcome the New with Hope


By: Donna Bucher

Praising God for new beginnings, my eye falls upon a fresh, new journal. Its stark pages beckon me come, linger, adorn the barrenness with heart words, thought words, His words. Mindfully embracing the new year with hope begins with a retrospective glance, a final caress of the old year, a gentle release, and a reaching forward to grasp the hand of the new year.

Whether the year held manifold blessings or many rough, dry wilderness walks, sitting quietly holding my year in review reveals hidden gems. Once I step back and view circumstances from a distance, God’s hand in my life becomes much clearer.

Some years I spend more time savoring, other years I move more quickly through my retrospection. But one thing remains constant: gratitude.

Even the hard places speak gratitude, for they remind me God’s hands held me, preserved me, and refined me.

Tempting me with extending my retrospect, my sweet moments plead lingering, while the hard places solicit endless scrutiny. Yet, mindfully embracing the new year with hope requires not only retrospect, but release.


Just as repeated handling of a delicate flower wilts and mars its beauty, so lingering too long with sweet moments from the past dims and alters their reality. Savoring even the best things in life provides the ultimate enjoyment when done for but a time and no more.

Likewise, standing in the hard places lures me into over-analyzation and endless questions driving the pain deeper still, in a macabre dance of hopelessness.

Combining thoughtful reflection with gentle, gratitude filled release brings peaceful closure to the old year, while positioning you in a hopeful stance eager to embrace the fullness of a new year.


Welcome the New Year with Hope

Making space for fully acknowledging both the pleasurable and distressing aspects of the old year through the lens of gratitude reaps a harvest of hope. A Retrospective view of the past reveals God’s steadfast love, mercy and faithfulness; pouring forth gratitude, resulting in gentle release.

"Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling."

Psalm 116:7-8

  • Breathe the old year. Take a full, deep breath. Imagine breathing in all of the past year; briefly hold the breath, then slowly exhale.
  • Hold the memories. Welcome the memories coming to mind. Remain open to all memories without resistance. Remember God’s Presence with you now.
  • Feel the memories. Welcome all emotions to the table; feel the marvelous, wondrous, and joyful along with the disappointment, sorrow and regret.
  • Savor and Seek. Savor the beauty, joy, splendor of your retrospection. Seek God’s Presence, provision and promises along the rough paths.
  • Wrap in Gratitude. Wrap each circumstance in heart-felt gratitude. Feel the fullness of the year; praise God for all the year held for you.
  • Release. Through a series of deep breaths, release the fullness of the past year to God. Open your hands in your lap as a physical sign of complete release. Acknowledge His sovereign care for you both in the past year and the coming new year.
  • Embrace hope. Eyes closed, imagine an unending field of pure, white snow before you. Remembering God’s faithfulness in the old year, gaze upon the pure beauty of a new beginning in the snow-covered field. In a closing prayer ask God to reveal a specific intention for the new year.

Lingering in one last caress of the old year in God’s Presence reminds me of His faithfulness both in joy-filled times and those tinged with grief. Revealing Himself as the covenant keeping God of unfailing love and faithfulness, He adorns me with unshakable Hope as I stretch forth my hands, embracing the new year.

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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  1. Donna, it was so good to read your words as they always bring a sweet comfort. Like you, I truly looked forward to turning the page to a new year. But it was done with deep gratitude for the way the Lord brought our family through. It is this gratitude which fills me with hope for the year ahead. We never go through a single day, or year, without the Lord's Presence with us. I am so grateful He goes before us, with us, and ahead of us. May the Lord richly bless you and continue to fill you with His Hope!

  2. Donna, this is so comforting and warmly encouraging.


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