Arbitrarily it is the end of a year and the end of a decade. An ancient Roman-based calendar obliges us to consider tomorrow January first as the demarcation of a new year: 2010. For weeks (or months) we will continue to write 2009 on our checks, not ready to give up the old year, not ready to embrace the changing times as the years zoom away from us.
The date marks no change of seasons. We are in the midst of winter and winter will continue into the new year. There is no high holy feast to observe, no pre-calendar pagan rituals harking us back to a holiday mood. There is no reason tomorrow should be anything other than another quotidian sunrise and sunset. Another ordinary day.
Yet offices are closed, tomorrow there will be no post, and everyone goes about today with good wishes and cheerful greetings. The midnight sky will be interrupted by fireworks and dropping pickles, apples, roses, crystal balls.... each timezone will countdown to this one instant, this thin line between two ordinary days on a calendar, a separation between old and new.
We go about with Hope brimming over, Expectations and Good Intentions leading our way...This year we will do better. This is the year. Everything will be different this year. Are we deluding ourselves? I don't think so. Somehow, even though it is just another ordinary day it is still a day of promise.
Anne of Green Gables says "Tomorrow is always new with no mistakes in it -- yet." we are never more aware of this truth than at the new year. Tomorrow the whole year will be New, with no mistakes in it -- yet. Despite our best intentions the coming year will fill up with mistakes big and small. But for right now it lies ahead of us level and clean like the blanket of new fallen snow outside my window. What tracks we will make through that unbroken white! For now the expanse lies clean at our feet.... 10...9...8...7...
When morning comes remember, every day begins fresh and new and blank waiting for us to make something of it. Will it be a holiday? Will it be a day when we wish each other well? Will it be a day when we spread a message of Hope? We get to choose -- all year long.