It’s 1 January 2019 as I write this post. The new year is only five hours old. The world is asleep. But here I am, awake in our dark apartment, next to some glow sticks that are fast losing their light.

Behind me is the tick, tick, ticking of our wall clock that runs five minutes fast. The Christmas lights we hung outside are still blinking away and the main road we face is silent, empty of traffic.

Damn coffee. I must have drunk too much of it at the party a few hours before. I always struggle to sleep when I drink it in the evenings. I’ve been trying to sleep for a couple of hours. Now I have given up and opened the laptop at our kitchen table.

I hear kookaburras. They say their distinctive cry heralds the day.

It must be close to sunrise as I flick through my Facebook feed on my phone and come across this from the Australian Red Cross.

I think I can agree with the sentiment.

Here’s to a meaningful, busy, fulfilling New Year. Where we all get the opportunity to contribute, big or small, to a better world.

While many work to prevent systemic issues of disadvantage, it usually isn’t the big gestures or grand policies that lift the spirit of another. There is a part for small kindnesses too. A role for the ordinary everyday care of strangers, of those we love, and even the people we dislike.

And in the dark, by the light of cheap glow sticks and the laptop screen, I start to pray to God who sometimes feels so far away.

I pray He will change me to be kinder and more forgiving this year. To let old grudges go easily and accept that sometimes, things are what they are. I pray I won’t be as selfish, even though I kinda want to stay selfish.

Some of us may be struggling with issues that seem insurmountable. I pray this is the year they will overcome them. For the lonely and lost, I pray they will find their place — one that is full of love and friendship so they need not feel alone.

For parts of the world where there are unrest and conflict, I pray this is the year we will hear some good news — that peace will come to those regions once more.

For our elected leaders, may God give them wisdom and humility. I pray they will lead well for all our sakes.

I glance out my window and I can see the sky getting lighter. I hear a car passing on the street below. It sounds like the neighbourhood is slowly waking up.

Last year I drove to the beach to greet the first morning of the new year. I’m a little late for that this time. But the morning sunlight is still beautiful. I sneak out of our home and walk to our local park to take a photo of the rising sun.

By the time I go out, there are people already jogging and walking around our park. I pass a young mum pushing her child in the pram. I smile hello. She smiles back. It’s a nice start to my day.

So, here we go again. Another turn around the sun. Father God, here’s to a kinder, better 2019.

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