Focal verse

“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).


When the new year rolls in, I’m all for making plans and dreaming dreams. Goal-making or coming up with a word of the year brings me joy. Reflecting on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go exhilarates me. New planners and pens are a highlight. Together with my kids, I like to think about the year ahead and talk about what’s to come—vacations or new extracurricular activities, visits from friends, places we’d like to explore, connecting with neighbors, and serving in our community. Yet, as much as I love a good planning and brainstorming session, the new year is ripe for looking back and giving thanks.

In the Midwest, where I live, January is bare and gray. The earth can be covered in snow and the temperatures are frigid. When I look out our front window to the neighborhood park, I’m flooded with memories of play and outside time with friends. I remember the greener and warmer days. But I can also see the beauty of what’s right in front of me: God’s faithfulness through the seasons.

This month, look back and reflect on God’s faithfulness, both in times of joy, abiding in God’s love, and in times of need, crying out in prayer. Remember the meals shared around the table and say a prayer of thanks for daily bread. Reflect on attending worship this year and how you’ve grown in faith and understanding. Rejoice in your health and give thanks for the strength of your body. Lament the losses in your life and in the world and pray for peace. Light a candle for the world in which we live and pray fervently for God’s kingdom to come.

Celebrate the new year but also celebrate the God who is, who was and who is to come—the God who walks with you throughout your days.


  • Take a New Year’s walk as a family. Notice the landscape. Give thanks for the fresh air and for everything God has provided.
  • Decorate your table with greenery, celebrating the God of all creation and the renewing of both ourselves and nature.
  • Read The Worried Wisemen (Morehouse Publishing, 2022); talk about the gifts of the wise men and how you can share your time and resources with others.

Prayer practice

Grab Christmas cards you’ve received and use them to pray for the people in your life. Over a meal or before you head out the door, pick a card and pray: Dear God, thank you for these friends whom we love and who love us. May they have joy, peace and health this year. May your love surround them and bring us together. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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