The First Sunrise

I’ve slipped away to my desk to watch this first sunrise of the year.

The view is an unconventional one, thanks to this frosted north-facing window; I don’t have a hope of seeing the actual bloom of the morning’s glory, but I’m witnessing it in the bright flash of our neighbor’s windows, and the illumination of icy lace along the top of our fence.

I don’t have the faintest hint of what this year might bring.

Two of the past three heralded seasons of change: a new little life, a strange sickness — and perhaps these are the reason I have no catchword of expectation for 2016, no forecast of events for its christening. But I know how I want to meet it.

Overhead, the patch of visible sky has turned azure after the light lavender of dawn. I saw molten orange creep across the wall of the first house on the street while typing, and now pale gold is making its way down the walls of our neighbor’s houses and the slender white branches of our trees. Even in the crystalline dead of winter, the world rings out a greeting to the sun.

I don’t know what stories this new year holds, but I want my response to its unexpected chapters to be open and full. I want to answer them with grace and trust, though even this must be a prayer. Come halcyon or hurricane, my bracing-place is Christ — petra — for while we cannot chart all our courses, we may choose our stance.

We can, if you’ll indulge the expression, undertake to steep in the sun whether our plot of earth lies in shadow or shine.

So as our family celebrates the day here, a Happy New Year to you, friends! — with prayers that even the hardest moments in it will feather out into exquisite etchings of unmistakable mercy.


Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew.
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with Thyself my spirit fill.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

– “Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun,” Thomas Ken, 1674.


*Photo: “Morning Frost,” attributed to trevorklatko, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.