Posted by: Laura Harbert Allen | January 8, 2009

A New Year

The calendar tells us that we have launched into a new year: 2009.

January 1st was always celebrated as the ‘New Year Day’ holiday in my family. I have vivid memories of family gatherings capped with a delicious meal prepared by my mother on the first day of the New Year.

As a child, I enjoyed the New Year’s Day celebration, because of all the good food [a second holiday feast], and it was for me an extension of the Christmas Holiday. On New Year’s Eve, we would go to church for the watch night service, which would end just after midnight.

The idea in those services was to pray the New Year into being by being on one’s knees in prayer. There was a desire to have a right start for the New Year. The New Year marks a fresh beginning; it is God’s fresh beginning for the whole world. The old year is past and finished, never to be repeated or experienced again. God deals with future things, because God is active in our history and activates the New Year.

God’s activity pertains to our families, our United Methodist denomination, our nation, and our world. God’s activity is the foundation of our hope as we look to the future.

On January 20, 2009, the United States will inaugurate a new President who will lead the United States for the next four years. President-elect Obama has promised to lead as the change president and the standard bearer of hope.

We United Methodists have agreed to strive toward a future with hope. We too are standard bearers of hope. We must lift up the name of Jesus not only at church, but in our homes, the market place, the workplace and the larger community. Perhaps church folk can work with politicians (Some of whom are church folk) in a mutual effort to foster hope in the midst of seeming hopelessness and despair among so many people across this nation and around the world.

Now, imagine that.


  1. thanks for your leading and your prayerful words! just got back from congress on evangelism, where terry teykl also exhorted us to be praying people.

    with your encouragement, we will surely be in prayer much at 7th st in this new year, and in prayerful action in our community-offering that hope that you remind us truly is ours, even in the face of all things.


  2. I remember the food from New Year’s Day too – always sauerkraut for good luck – ugh!
    I look forward to the new year, blank calendar and days yet to be filled with good things.
    Thanks for sharing of yourself on this blog. All four of the folks in my family LOVE the name – The Lyght house!

  3. I love the thought of a “new” year as well. It always seems hope filled to me and this year especially! Thank you, Bishop, for joining the blogging community.

  4. Kathi Ambler alerted me to this site. You may remember me from our Drew alum committees.
    After I retired from GNJAC in 1991, I became
    Chaplain at GlenWood Park Retirement Village
    and worked in the West Virginia Conference for
    13 years before my present half-deaf-and-blind
    full retirement in Bluefield, Virginia.
    In 1992 I met Kathi and I helped her through
    orders and her D.Min. She has been West Virginia’s IT prophet throughout and I hope you will
    continue to tap her talents.

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