We have seen and heard much about darkness and light lately. Christmas lights inside and out pierced the darkness of December. Last week we marked the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. We just finished the season of Advent and are still in the midst of celebrating the season of Christmas with their scriptural messages of darkness and light.
Soon we will close the book on 2022, and open a brand new book called 2023. When we look back, we often focus on the dark times of the past year, and look forward to the promises and hopes, the “light”, for the new year. Yet each new year is also full of unknowns.
December 31 not only marks the end of 2022, but it marks the end of our ninth year since the transition. For those of us who took that giant step into 2014 full of hopes and promises, we also knew there would be plenty of unknowns. If we are honest, we have to say there were plenty of moments we weren’t sure we would be here to welcome 2015, let alone nine years later. January, February and March of 2014 come to mind, when the temperatures were lower than the number of groups in the house, and groups were in the single digits. But we did make it, thanks in large part to the “light” of our donors and volunteers who walked with us into the unknown.
Each successive new year held many hopes and promises, as well as many unknowns. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2019. By then we had our feet under us following the transition, and we were blessed to have reached the goal of celebrating St. Anthony’s Centennial. The hopes could not have been higher. And then Covid came. We locked our doors for three months. When we reopened, we had the challenge of balancing the well-being of our guests, staff and volunteers with the reality of needing groups to come here in order for St. Anthony’s to survive. Dark times, indeed, yet full of light thanks to the loving support our donors and volunteers.
We continue to try to balance the challenges life brings with the need to move forward in our mission and ministry in 2023. We hope that most of the challenges of Covid are behind us. We hope that we can get our feet back under us once again and life here can start to feel more normal. No matter what the unknowns of 2023 will be, we will face them with the hope and promise that our “lights” will again be there walking with us.
For all the hope and promise that the new year brings, and for the “lights” that will be with us through all of it, we say Deo Gratias!