By Ann Boyd

Advent Reflections 2022: Part 5

Embracing a New Year

This year, as we’ve been talking with women in academia, we’ve heard one thing loud and clear: taking time for reflection is the first step in crafting a life that is satisfying, sustainable, and focused on the work God has called us to do.

We’re exploring a practice of short, manageable reflections together this month which you can enjoy in audio or written form, receiving them in the way that works best for your life. This is our fifth episode of our Advent 2022 series, so if you haven’t yet heard the first episode, give that one a listen first if you’d like some more context. 

You can find all the episodes in print form at The Well, if you prefer to read or write your way through, or in podcast form, if you prefer to listen and think your way through. You can choose to work through one guided reflection each week through Advent and into the weeks of Christmas and Epiphany, or you could work through them over the course of a week — or even set aside a bigger chunk of a day. There’s not a right or wrong way to go about this.

Click on the podcast below to listen in, or scroll down to read through, and download the questions for reflection.

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Notes from this episode:

Transcript

We’re exploring a practice of short, manageable reflections together this month which you can enjoy in audio or written form, receiving them in the way that works best for your life. This is our second episode of our Advent 2022 series, so if you haven’t yet heard the first episode, give that one a listen first if you’d like some more context. 

Before we get into our reflections today on the theme of “embracing a new year,” I’ll refresh your memory on a few details. If you’re looking for the transcript, you can find it at our website, thewell.intervarsity.org. Look around while you’re there, rate and review our podcast, and consider donating to our ministry. We’re grateful for you! 

So as we enter into this fifth episode of reflection, let me invite you to breathe deeply. Take a few minutes to get quiet and open up to God’s presence in our lives. Whether you find yourself at work, at home, in traffic, or awake in the middle of the night, hear this truth and this comfort: the Lord is with you.

Let’s begin … by embracing the coming year.

Heart. As you look back over the past year and into the new, think about your relationships. What habits would you like to continue? What might you like to begin this January?

Soul. Think through your spiritual journey over the past calendar year, or even just thinking from the beginning of fall. What peaks and valleys come to mind? What kinds of practices will draw you closer to God in the coming year?

Mind. January can offer an opportunity for a soft-reset in work and school rhythms. What has worked well for you in your profession over the past quarter? Where do you wish to invest more energy or resources? Consider what you might add and what you might take away as you pursue your vocation.

Strength. Magazines will be proclaiming the season of “new year, new you” — free yourself from these messages and embrace something sustainable. What habits help you to feel energized and strong? What can you incorporate reasonably into your life? Small steps can reap big rewards when it comes to health.

In Luke 2, the shepherds hear the good news of Jesus’s birth from the angels and then are struck with inspiration, as it says:

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Gather up your reflections for a moment, and give thanks to the God who reveals his good news and invites us to explore it in the coming year.
 

Photo by Mary on StockSnap

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About the Author

Ann is the Women Scholars and Professionals Podcast host and the managing editor for The Well. She has worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship since 1997, exploring her interests in community, spiritual formation, and writing. Ann has a BM in Music Education from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago, Illinois with one husband, two spunky teenage daughters, and three snuggly cats. You’ll often find Ann baking sweet treats in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or audiobook.

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