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Our Goodbye to 2022 by Rev. Christine Emmerling 1/8/2023 (text)

“Our Goodbye to 2022"

by Rev. Christine Emmerling 1/8/2023

Happy New Year! Our services for this January are in preparation of 2023.

January is named after the Roman God Janus. Janus has two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. The God Janus reminds us that the present is the culmination of the past, and the foretelling of the future.

Today’s service is about looking back over last year of 2022. This is a two-step process. First, we will be letting go of what we do not wish to take with us into 2023. The second step is about evaluating our progress we have made in 2022. These are our gifts that we will take with us into 2023.

I will first describe the process, and then we’ll do it together. Today’s process will require two pieces of blank paper and a writing instrument. The first piece of paper will be used to write down everything we wish to release from our life. Such as, people to forgive or to be forgiven by, anger, painful memories, health conditions, and belongings to name a few. Sit quietly for a few moments. Then when things come up to be released write them down in brief statements.

After each statement write “Thank you!” because we are having gratitude for the lessons learned and for the opportunity to heal from this experience. The following are a few examples: I release guilt about such and such - thank you! I forgive so and so - thank you! I forgive me about - thank you! I release back pain - thank you! I release no longer used items - thank you!

We will now take the next few minutes to write down that which we are ready to release and let go. We will now take the piece of paper we wrote on and tear it into pieces. Feel the release and freedom knowing we are no longer bound to these past experiences and feelings.

Let us affirm: I am now free to be loving, peaceful, compassionate, generous and joyous. So it is! (Repeat)

Now we move to our second process. This next process is about bringing together the knowledge and wisdom we gained from 2022. We will be reviewing the past year looking at the gifts that it brought to us. It is through both the good times and challenging times that we build character, wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Although, it is mostly through the challenging times that we develop in character; we become stronger and more compassionate. We also have the opportunity to put to practice all that we have learned through spiritual studies and our practices.

We have free will, it is our choice in how we choose to respond to the challenges we live through. We can choose to be fearful, and let it hold us back. We can choose to be angry and use it to be hurtful to others and ourselves. Or we can choose to see it differently. To take a new perspective and use it for good. As the saying goes “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

An example from the Bible is told in Genesis chapters 37-50. It is the story about Joseph the favorite son of Jacob. This story began with Joseph’s brothers being jealous of him, and selling him as a slave. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, or begrudge, Joseph chose to find the good and do his best. When in prison he shared his visions which got him free to serve the Pharaoh. He then interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams as 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of drought. Joseph developed a plan so there would be plenty of grain during the drought years. This led him to become the pharaoh’s right-hand man. Then he was a blessing to all of Egypt and the surrounding lands, and even to his brothers who sold him. Unknowingly, Joseph’s brothers were all part of a larger plan for Joseph to save the lives of people and livestock. Truly fulfilling his life purpose.

Being able to move forward and begin anew requires understanding, to find the good, and have gratitude for our experiences. For these experiences have brought us to where we are today. We can ask “How can I see this differently?” and “What good can I make of this situation?”

We will now reflect upon 2022. To find the good and build upon it.

We’re now going to have a guided exercise to review 2022. Get comfortable. You may want to stretch a little.

Let us now begin with some good deep breathing. Breathing in the very life and breath of God, and still our thoughts. Now let us open our heart to be receptive to the still small voice within us.

Relax as we go back to the beginning of last month, December 2022. How did you feel about the year that was coming to an end?...

Now let us step back in time to January, February and March of 2022. What was going on in your life at that time; expectations, challenges, decisions, career, personal relationships?... How did you handle these?

What spiritual insights are there?... Ask Spirit to reveal the deeper inner message...

Now we move into April, May, June – look at what these months brought...

Now review July, August, September... What did summer bring?

Now we look at October, November, and back to December. What was going on at that time?

We shall now stand back as if looking down on our life for the whole year from beginning to end, as if viewing a chapter in our book of life...

Let us now give thanks to Infinite Spirit for insights received. As ready open our eyes. Now using the other sheet of paper, begin to answer the following questions:

1. What were your major accomplishments or problems resolved?

2. What was the major theme of issues for 2022?

3. How was your handling of these issues?

4. What have you learned most from 2022?

5. How has your spirituality evolved?

6. What are you most grateful for in 2022?

7. Seeing the year 2022 as a chapter in your book of life, what title would you give to it?

I thank you for your participation in these exercises. May this new year bring you many more blessings.

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