I resolve to fill this New Year
with praise and thanksgiving,
a year of singing praises to God.
O Lord, how easily I slip into the laments of
anxiety and complaining;
how quickly I forget
your goodness and graciousness.
Yet, you pursue me with loving-kindness.
Over and over You forgive
my childish willfulness
and selfish carelessness.
Though the days seem to linger in darkness,
lacking warmth and light,
over and over you provide me
with hope and the promise of spring.
Though life is sometimes like
the drab barrenness of January--
cloudy, colorless, cold--
still beauty abounds in winter's starkness.
Bereft of leaves, each tree
reveals its own unique shape,
designed and shaped by you.
Bare intertwining branches create
elegant sculptures against a barren landscape,
where even in the death and darkness of winter
they lift their branches high in praise to You.
Help me in times of spiritual and emotional barrenness
to lift the stark branches of my soul to You
in praise and thanksgiving,
warming myself by the fire
of your goodness, mercy, and loving-kindness.