Ritual for the New Year

Joan Kahn-Schneider

We pause now on the edge of the New Year—

An artificial beginning to be sure—but still a time to reflect. Like Janus, the god for whom January was named, we glance back at past joys and sorrows

That what has past can guide us

Toward what is yet to be.

Let us reflect for a moment on some of the things that happened to us and our world in 2007.

First—think of the good things. What are you proud of?

What were your gains and accomplishments?

What were some of the special blessings of (year)?

Consider those things for which you are grateful

What would you like to take with you into (year)?

You have two pieces of paper in your order of service.

On one piece write your hopes, dreams, your wishes, your goals for the coming year.

If you did not receive paper, or need a pencil, raise your hand. The ushers will bring it to you.

[Time to write—soft music]

We come to the opening of (year) also with regrets – events from the past year that you would like to forget – to put behind you—disappointments,

opportunities missed, losses, failures, unwelcome burdens.

Things you said or did that you wish you hadn’t said or done.

Things you didn’t say or do that you wish you had

Things you want to let go

Angers and fears and regrets

Hopes unfulfilled

And now, on the other paper, write those things you want to dispose of&

[time to write—soft music]

I invite you now to put the paper with the things you want to keep in a safe place. (Perhaps you would like to take it home and put it on your refrigerator -- a reminder of your good intent and good resolve.)

And now come forward if you wish bringing with you those things you want to dispose of as together we let go of all that we wish not to take with us into the New Year

[The Burning—music]

Emptying ourselves of those things which make us anxious and render us stingy with our love, we invite the spirit of Janus – the spirit of good beginnings to fill us and to cast the light of hope upon the year ahead.

It will not be a happy New Year—for all years are a weaving of joy and sorrow. But it offers us an invitation to open our hearts to the possibility of growth.

May we create for ourselves a year of blessing.

May we renew our faith in the power of love

To weather the winters of the heart

and blossom

and bear fruit in its season.