Saturday, 12/31/16 – The Last Hour

379px-happy_new_year_01“Children, it is the last hour…” Could there be a more fitting opening line for today’s readings than this one? Today, we count down the last few hours of 2016 and while I can’t speak for everyone, I will be happy to see this year come to a close. I’ve had enough of 2016 and if the mood I’m reading on social media is any indicator, I am not alone in my assessment.

Let’s face it; some years are more difficult than others, but 2016 was harder than most. It was as though it had more than the usual 365 days to it, or rather 366 as this year was a leap year. (No, I didn’t know that off the top of my head. I had to look it up.) My husband lost his job. Two of my family members died. My brother lost his house. There were the celebrity icons who meant so much to me that died and of course an election cycle that never seemed to end. If I am being honest with you, as I sit here watching the last minutes of 2016 tick by, I can’t help wondering if I am counting down to a fresh new start or ushering in an uncertain future. The way things have gone recently, both options are a distinct possibility.

As a child, I never really connected with the New Year celebration. It always arrived in the middle of a school year, but never during a semester break. It did not signal the beginning, or preferably the end of winter but only the end of Christmas vacation. I was the same age that I was before. I was in the same grade and I had to finish the same homework that was assigned the previous month. In fact, it seemed like the same year, but with a new number assigned to it just to make my life complicated for a while.

But now that I am older, the New Year takes on a different tone to me. Oh don’t get me wrong, there is a part of me that will always feel as if the New Year belongs in June rather than January, but there is a calm serenity to the first day of the year that is unmatched in any other month, provided you are awake to experience it. I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Eve reveler, so I go to bed not long after the ball drops and as a natural “morning person” I tend to rise and shine with the chickens. It’s in the stillness of the morning, when everything is at peace that the New Year spreads out before me like a fresh blanket of snow. It’s in that moment that the year is mine to plan and create however I want. I think the year into being based on my resolution and my will to make it happen. Although I know there will be things that will impact it, set me back and cause me to re-evaluate my course, I have a plan and it is up to me to keep that plan intact no matter what challenges face it.

New Year’s morning is the moment in which I feel the biggest connection to John’s gospel in which we get a glimpse into the mind of God. God thought the world into being and He created the Word to live among us. Although we challenge His plan 24 hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year (366 if it’s a leap year) we cannot defeat it. His will is resolute and will shine through whatever darkness we try to shadow it with. As we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the new one, let us not count away the precious seconds with joy that it’s almost over or with trepidation and fear at what’s to come. Let us rejoice at having the fortitude to stand strong in the light even when things dark and the belief that with the morning comes another grace that enables us to find our place in His plan for another year and another journey around and with the Son.

Today’s Mass Readings: 1 JN 2:18-21; PS 96: 1-2, 11-12, 13; JN 1: 1-18

About the Author

Julie Young is an award-winning writer and author from Indianapolis, Indiana in the USA, whose work has been seen in Today’s Catholic Teacher, The Catholic Moment, and National Catholic Reporter. She is the author of nine books including: A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin, The CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism. She is a graduate of Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis and holds degrees in writing and education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. She can be found online at www.julieyoungfreelance.com

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9 Comments

  1. Julie, this year has been dark, everyday we read, hear or see another attack on Christians and their values. I so look forward to your reflections Thank You. As one of my favorite Priests said frequently before he passed to his reward. Remember no matter what God always wins in the end. God Bless you and your family Happy New Year

  2. “God thought the world into being”. This tells me that I can think 2017 into being. Create my world. Thank you Julie. God bless you. Have a better 2017.

  3. Julie, nice read. I can relate. It is this site I’ve been visiting every morning to step back from all the noise in this world and in my mind. Sorry to hear about your husband’s job, your brothers house, and the two deaths. It’s refreshing to see a writer that let’s us know they are human too and suffer some of the same struggles as your readers.
    Keep up the good writing! God Bless you and the rest of the writers on this Web site.

  4. Dear Julie, Although I have been moved by all the wonderful reflections I have read here, I personally want to thank you for your beautiful words this morning. I too, rise early and while taking care of my farm animals, love the mornings God gives me. As I have for many years, I walked over to my fathers farm house next door yesterday and discovered he had passed away in the night. So we will begin the new year laying him to rest and praying over him. Your reflection strengthens me for the days ahead that my family and I face. Thank you for sharing the gift God has blessed you with.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful reflection, Julie. I hope and pray 2017 is a lovely one for you and your family.

  6. Thank you for that reflection. Life can be a struggle for everyone. And a new year brings with it the possibility of more struggle, but also more Joy. I pray that I come to know the Father more in 2017. Happy New Year.

  7. Julie, thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties you faced this year. I face some very strong ones as well. My dad passed away in October. Maybe we all faced a lot of difficulties. I pray that in 2017 we will be able to let God’s light shine through us much more… I pray that we will be able to glorify God much more… I pray that we will be able to rejoice in the misdt of your sufferings much more… I pray that we will find peace in Him much more. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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