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After a long, hard 2020, here we stand at the beginning of a new year. What will happen next? — Laura Kelly Fanucci

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Men sing and dance in the icy waters of the Tundzha River to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany in Kalofer, Bulgaria, Jan. 6, 2021. (CNS photo/Stoyan Nenov, Reuters)

“A baby is God’s way of saying the world should go on.”

Laura Kelly Fanucci writes the “Faith at Home” column for Catholic News Service. (CNS photo/courtesy Laura Kelly Fanucci)

My mother spoke this truth a thousand times while I was growing up. She said it every time we heard news of a friend or relative expecting a baby, but also each time the world darkened with terrible suffering or personal tragedy. She saw in each human life a great possibility: the prospect of new beginnings meeting the promise of hope.

Even in the worst times, if God was still creating, then we could keep going.

After a long, hard 2020, here we stand at the beginning of a new year. What will 2021 hold? What will happen next?

We cannot know what the next 12 months will bring, but one truth is certain: If you’re reading these words, then 2021 has arrived and brought you with it.

God has decided the world will keep going for now.

Every beginning is an urge forward. Each dawn affirms that the world is still here. The end has not yet come, and God’s mercies are new every morning, each year (Lam 3:23).

We have been given the chance to begin anew.

Family life brims with beginnings. From marriage to birth, from baptism to confirmation, from the first day of school to the last graduation, we are always beginning again as families.

Each stage brings joys and sorrows, gains and losses, hardships and holiness. Through every season, families share one truth in common: They are always changing and beginning again.

Children arrive and grow. Parents mature and age. New callings are born as children become parents and parents become grandparents. Generations begin and end, each one shaping the next.

Think about your nieces or nephews, children or grandchildren, parents or grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. Think about your closest friends (the ones you cherish like a chosen family) or your brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to your church community.

Every family has someone who needs the hope of a new beginning right now. Not the shiny prospect of a new year, but the lasting hope of Christ’s love. The renewal that comes from remembering the unshakable truth that we are beloved by God.

Scripture encourages us to keep this edge of openness to God’s love of beginnings. As St. Paul wrote, “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: The old things have passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17).

We are always becoming new in Christ. Each time we renew our baptismal vows, receive the sacrament of reconciliation or recommit to the everyday work of our callings, we reaffirm the ever-newness of life itself. Faith keep us growing and changing, greeting each fresh year and each day’s dawn with a prayer of gratitude for the chance to begin anew.

You are one of God’s ways of saying the world should go on. You are given this day to live into the hope of a new beginning.

The deepest truth about any year is that God has created it and God will watch over each creature within it. All earthly certainties may crumble, but eternal life and divine love will never end.

Within this assurance, we can begin again in hope.

God saw fit that creation needed each one of us and that the world should keep spinning, even through the darkest days until now. How can our families become places of faith and forgiveness where each member returns to be renewed and begin again? What resolution might we make in prayer to deepen our love for God and for each other this year?

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Fanucci is a writer, speaker, and author. Her work can be found at laurakellyfanucci.com.