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Each year, I approach New Year’s Eve as a time to reflect upon the past year: my mistakes, what I haven’t accomplished, etc.  I gaze upon what still has not happened in my life.  Once again, for the umpteenth year in a row, I am single, childless, don’t own a home, etc.

So, as you can see, New Year’s Eve has typically become a holiday of dread.

But what if I took New Year’s Eve and used it as a tool of grace?  What if New Year’s Eve became the great eraser for the year?  Last year I experienced such and such.  This is a new year… maybe I won’t experience this again…  Maybe I’ll avoid the same mistakes and live in healthier ways…

Yet how can I do this in a way that releases any shame from the past and embraces a fresh start?  Is there some ritual that will help us release the past?

Maybe gratitude should become part of this ritual.  What if this became a holiday in which I thank God for what I’ve experienced and accomplished?  What if I thank God for the people who have touched my lives and the opportunities I’ve had to minister to others?

So this year, I’ll try something different.  I’ll place 2012 behind me.  I’ll ask to be reconciled to God, my neighbor and self for any bad decisions and mistakes I might have made.  And I will firmly place one foot in front of the other as I walk with hope into 2013.