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Leyah got the coin in our Vasilopita!

New Year’s Day is a crazy day being the beginning of the new calendar year as well as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and also the feast day for Saint Basil the Great! This New Year family photo (with me running in) sums up the movement I feel at the end of each year with our many family birthdays, anniversaries, and of course–great feasts!

“It is not he who begins well who is perfect. It is he who ends well who is approved in God’s sight.”

St. Basil the Great
Elijah’s first Christmas
This month Valene turned 12.
The boys playing “Giant Jingle Jingle,” Paul’s name for “Jenga.” Paul turned 4 this month.
New book for the kids from New Rome Press.

With a new year, we tend to pour all of our hopes and dreams into the shedding of the “old man” of the prior year and the putting on of the “new.” I think this is especially true of 2021. So many people are waiting for the new number to “change their luck” and to reopen our society. What have we learned in this past year? What truly matters? What is our outlook on death? How do we value life? I fear that too many people have not yet figured any of this out. The new year will fail the hope of the people unless Christ becomes the lens by which they view and answer these questions. Freedom is in Him, not in the powers of this world.

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.  We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.  For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.  

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.  For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak,  because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.  Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,  because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

St. Paul to the Church at Corinth – 2 Corinthians 4
Let us keep each and every day filled with the glorious hope of Christ.

“Do not say, “this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.” In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance … How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?”

St. Basil the Great