“10 Christmastide Resolutions for 2024”
John 1: 1-18
Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt
Trinity Episcopal Church, Newtown CT
December 31, 2023, First Sunday After Christmas
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
The beginning, the Prologue, to John’s gospel. We were given the exact same passage to reflect on
together almost a week ago, on Christmas morning. Our Lectionary insists: it is still Christmas,
according to tradition. We must keep Christmastide.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Monday morning, Christmas morning, I did preach on this text; wrestling with John’s ancient Greek
philosophy, still basking in the glow of our marvelous Christmas Eve. Almost a week later, how odd: the
exact same scripture reading.
I don’t know about you, but I am not in the same place as a week ago!
My girls packed up and went back to their lives. I felt that familiar emptiness when the full house returns
to being the empty nest. Leftovers. Laundry. Medical appointments. Some of you may have taken
down the Christmas tree, sweeping up dry needles.
It has been SO gloomy and damp. But here, this morning, it is still Christmas. We are reminded to keep
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s
only son, full of grace and truth.”
Christmastide can last all week! Epiphany is not until next Saturday! The song tells us: there are 12
days of Christmas, not just one.
In culture around us, Christmas is already packed away. New Year’s Eve tonight! Perhaps some of you
are off to Times Square! We are surrounded by memories of the year now ending, predictions for the
year to come.
Perhaps we face 2024 with curiosity! A new calendar, a clean slate … it’s like a writer with a fresh sheet
of paper or a painter with a blank canvas waiting to be filled … a new year full of possibilities and hope,
breaking old patterns, creating new opportunities.
Maybe there are joyful events to contemplate – weddings, graduations, adventures.
Or, perhaps we peer around the corner of the year with dread. Ooh, an election year. Maybe:
challenges with health or family or work. As we wrap up the hottest year ever in recorded human history,
what will the weather pattern we are in – ‘El Nino’ – what will this mean for 2024?
Whether we face a New Year with joy, with curiosity, or dread: tonight, it is upon us, this great turning of
the year. This morning, Christian tradition reminds us to face into a new year bathed in the light of
Christmastide - still very much with us. We need this reminder.
Our Collect this morning: “Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives.”
So … how? How can we keep the light of incarnation - enkindled in our hearts - shining brightly in our
lives? How might we equip ourselves to be bearers of light as we travel forth into 2024?
Some make resolutions to eat less sugar, spend less money; how might we resolve to shine forth more
We can draw from the deep well of our faith. We can travel into 2024 drawing on powerful resources of
Spirit, that can keep us empowered, help us shine the light of Christ - no matter what we encounter. So
…10 Christmastide resolutions!
Resolution #1. Stay grounded in God, in prayer. Whatever spiritual practice works for you, just do it.
Christian Centering Prayer. Buddhist meditation. Yoga; whatever. And when you stop doing it; don’t
beat yourself up, just start again.
#2. Stay rooted in community. We learned, in pandemic isolation, how much we need community. Don’t
forget those hard-won lessons. Reach out. Novelist E M Forster writes, in Howards’ End: “Only
Connect!” None of us can sustain our ministries, our activism alone; we cannot thrive in isolation.
Resolution #3. Swim against the tide of increasing division. Talk to people who are different from you,
listen to their stories, witness their circumstances. Reach out beyond your comfort zone. Don’t give in to
the temptation to demonize ‘the other,’ whoever that other is.
Resolution #4. Be realistic; but stay hopeful! Not one of us is singlehandedly going to save the world.
But we CAN have an impact in our own local circles of influence. Think of our lives, our activism as
concentric circles. They do ripple outward.
#5. Don’t try and do it alone. Learn to ask for help. I’m not good at this one. Be humble enough to
hand off your cross when it gets too heavy. Know your limitations. And keep someone next to you that
you trust who can pick up your cross and carry it for you.
#6. Learn resilience. We are vulnerable people. There are times of when it is simply too much. There
are times when we need to step back and heal; be patient with ourselves, with each other. But we can
learn to trust that we will come back, and maybe even stronger, wiser.
Resolution #7. Keep the Gospel in the center. Keep Christ’s Gospel of radical inclusion, of healing, of
liberation at the heart of your action, and it will have integrity. See his Incarnation everywhere.
#8. Stay flexible. Stay limber. Be ready to act at a moment’s notice. Be ready to make connections and
change course. We never know when an amazing opportunity may come along to participate in God’s
Resolution #9. Know you are loved. Remember you are God’s beloved! Knowing we are loved simply
for being who and what we are can help us face just about anything.
And Resolution #10: Stay joyful. Because, ultimately, it’s not about us and our efforts, It’s about God.
God’s Spirit can and will and does break into human history in ways that continue to confound and
Incarnation can and will and does happen in ways beyond our wildest imagining.
In this season of Christmastide, as we move into Epiphany, remember: Transformation happens, and
Light shines! God is a lot bigger and a lot more mysterious than our limited human senses can fathom.
“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light,
enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives.” Amen.
The Rev. andrea castner wyatt
The Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt is honored to accept the call of Trinity Episcopal Church to serve and lead as Rector. She looks forward with joy to walking with the people of Trinity Church, and to discovering with you what Jesus is up to in Newtown, CT. Contact Rev. Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-426-9070.