Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blessing the New Year

New Year's Eve 2011 landed on a Saturday, which gave me an excuse to try something new at church.  We offered a Festival of the New Year which included worship, supper, board games, puzzles, karaoke, and a late-night blessing.

Each family was given a biodegradable sky lantern to decorate with their hopes for 2012.  Some wrote with words, others drew pictures.  

Prior to igniting and releasing the lantern, our pastor offered this prayer:

Another year has turned its page, O Lord.
We feel promises about to be fulfilled, hopes that may be realized,
And sorrows unknown – that may become ours to bear.
All of this, we carry into a New Year.
We declare at the doorway into this year, that our trust is not
In any man or woman to fulfill us,
Nor is our trust in circumstance,
Or a belief that the days ahead will be easy.
We do not expect, in this New Year, for our every prayer
To be answered in a way we would like.
You are in control, and we release our lives to you.

We then proceeded outside and sent one lantern at a time up into the sky.  As the Ullestad family lantern floated away, a Christmas lyric kept running through my head...

"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight."

Happy New Year everyone.

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