Katrick: How will you ring in 2023?

·2 min read

It’s New Year’s Eve, Eve. A little over 24 hours from now, what will you be doing? What kinds of plans are you making? Where and with whom will you be watching the humongous crystal ball, made up of 2,688 Waterford Crystals, drop in Times Square?

Since my columns are written and submitted well in advance of publication, I’m not yet sure of how I’ll be welcoming in 2023. Any answer I give to my own question would be sheer speculation.

Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.
Rev. Mark Katrick is a guest columnist for the Newark Advocate and an ordained minister.

What I’ve been hoping and praying for these last few New Year’s Eves is captured in the lyrics to a favorite song of the season I shared in a recent column, Song for a Winter’s Night, by Gordon Lightfoot. I would be happy to have a companion near, and to hear her voice softly calling, as we hold hands and count down the remaining days in 2022.

Like some of you, I’ve spent the last few Dec. 31sts as a single person with the full spectrum of feelings, the ups and the downs and the in-betweens that go with it. Yet especially within this big and empty space, I’ve become increasingly more aware of an even bigger Divine Presence who is ready and willing to fill it.

The Holy One with the human face of Jesus Christ has always been there, softly and tenderly calling my name, holding my hand, and counting down the seconds to a brand new year with all its hopes and possibilities. As the years go over, that presence becomes more and more real, as real as the human companionship I so long for.

It’s simply a matter of letting go and letting God take over all the thoughts you are thinking and all the feelings you are feeling. As of now, I have no idea if I’ll be spending tomorrow’s winter night by myself or with some special someone I love. In spiritual direction, this is what we call the Great Unknowing.

But one thing I know for sure is that with or without human companionship, God will be there to fill up those empty spaces. With the Christ who dwells within, we’ll never be alone. So this New Year’s Eve, get out your party hats and noisemakers, and make a place for Jesus in your home and in your hearts, whether it is a second chair, or a third.

Mark Katrick is a pastor and spiritual director.

This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Katrick: How will you ring in 2023?