"See, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5
I read recently about an ancient Scottish custom. It called the celebration of "first-footing" and honors the first guest to cross the threshold of the house after the beginning of a new year. This guest is thought to bring good fortune and the custom is that the first-footer will bring with them a gift is helpful to the household. That person is then also offered a gift in return and invited with great hospitality to join in the celebration of the house for the new year.
Over time I imagine there has been much planning as to who will be the first-footer to come through the New Year's door. It has probably become a ritual much like when Santa Claus visits some houses on Christmas Eve only preparing the children for the excitement that will happen while they sleep. But if we did not plan for it or in essence choose the first guest, we might do well to be open and aware to who or what it is that 2010 brings through our doors .What guest might we welcome into this year that will bring gifts we might not have imagined?
As we look back at the guests who have crossed our paths this year, many have been welcome and many have not. Some have opened doors to find illness,grief,disappointments, or sorrows knocking. Still others have opened doors to adventures, accomplishments, fresh starts, dreams fulfilled. Whether welcomed or not, all these have been guests, first-footers, in our lives. It is only in living into their arrival that we come to know their gifts. Initially we may not be able to celebrate their step across our thresholds. But with retrospect we can, through grace, mine the gifts they have brought.
Today we stand in the in-between place between the year that has been and the one yet to come. Guests have come and gone, leaving behind assorted gifts that have changed us and shaped us, preparing us for the newness of the year to come. In the reflection that will no doubt happen at some point of this day, it will be good to offer our gratitude for all whether welcome or not. And as we move into the darkness of this night which also offers us a Blue Moon, a blessed second full moon of this month, may we all find ourselves waiting with anticipation for the first-footer who will bring the first gift of the new year to our homes. May we open the door fully for all they carry and bid them a hearty welcome.
2010….here we come!