Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week. May you all have a joyous 2022.
As I sit here contemplating my final column of 2021, there is no shortage of contentious political and cultural issues about which to write. But resting in the warmth of family and the quiet wheezing of a year in its final moments, writing about one of the many societal frictions seems indecent. You don’t want to read it. I don’t want to write it. Instead, I offer a fervent prayer for the new year.
Lord, thank you for another year living in your grace. Thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, who lived amongst us to die to atone for our sins. Thank you for reminding me that while 2021 was a very tough year for so many, we are transients on this planet and destined for an eternity in your everlasting light of pure joy. May this knowledge comfort and salve the wounds, seen and unseen, inflicted in this world.
Lord, I know that you are with the poor and the oppressed; the cold and the infirm; the lonely and the sad; the hated and the haters; the hungry and the hurt; the lost and the elderly; the children and the wanderers. You are with all without reserve or deserve. May I open my heart to those who struggle as your son taught me to do.
Lord, the clouds lurking in the predawn of 2022 are dark and ominous. I hear the drums of war thumping in faraway lands. I see the worrying signs of potential economic ruination. I have been made all too aware of the power of disease to disrupt society. I know the evil purposes of some to use the fear of all these things to abuse and oppress. Please grant our leaders wisdom, restraint, patience, resilience, and humility to make the correct decisions to guide us through these turbulent times.
Lord, this year saw a huge increase in the number of people being victimized by criminals. Many criminals are broken people who struggle with addictions or mental illnesses. Please heal them that they may fully participate in our society. For those criminals who are simply evil, please protect the rest of us from them. Please protect those police officers who bravely stand a watch to maintain our civil society from those who would ravage it. May 2022 bring with it the peace of a lawful society.
Lord, with the pandemic and our misguided public policy responses, more people are suffering from forced or voluntary isolation. You made us to be social creatures and the isolation is unnatural. It foments depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Please bring comfort to the isolated with the knowledge that even when alone, they are loved. Even if they don’t love you, you love them.
Lord, like many others, even when I am with other people, I feel the emptiness of those who are no longer with me. Grief is the price paid for love, so as I grieve, let me reflect on the price that you paid for your love of me. May my faith turn grief to joy as I celebrate that my loved ones feel no pain; shed no tears; carry no burden as they sing your everlasting praises.
Lord, while my powers to change the world are limited, your power to change me is infinite. May your power swell my heart, wither my pride, heal my wounds, and give me the courage to fix a few pieces of this broken world before my time on it is done.
If life is the childhood of our immortality, as Goethe contends, then let me live as a child. Laugh without trepidation. Trust without doubt. Help without expectations. Give without taking. Love without reserve.
Lord, thank you for 2021. May 2022 be a year of growing closer to you.