“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Traditions are important in many families. The Latino traditions that my family carries out as we celebrate the arrival of the New Year are ones of travel, hope and renewal:
- Washing and sweeping the steps of your front door symbolizes the releasing of the old and making a pathway for the new that is to come.
- Packing a suitcase and exiting and re-entering your home 12 times symbolizes safe travels and the wish to travel more in the coming year.
- Eating 12 grapes, one for each month, while making twelve wishes in the hope that they will come true.
But as I look forward to the New Year and the hopes for new possibilities of what 2018 is to bring, I can’t help but think about those unexpected and unplanned events that took place in my family life in 2017 like my father’s cancer and the caregiving that goes with that.
And yet, I am comforted by joyous occasions like the celebration of my grandfather’s 97th birthday, a new job for my husband, a successful Tenth Triennial Gathering, and the continued health of my 22- and 2-year old daughters.
As we celebrate the New Year, I hope your joyous celebrations are plentiful and that God’s love and grace comfort you during difficult times. Trust that God will lead you through the shadow of darkness and into the light of the Holy Spirit.
What traditions will you honor as you ring in the New Year?
Gabriela Contreras is the director for meeting planning for Women of the ELCA. Photo by Gabriela of her grandfather Leandro Saucedo reading his Bible by the window as her daughter Valentina watches.