"Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5)

As individuals, as nations, and as the Church, we are drawn to begin a new year with a keen sense of optimism. Even in economically and politically challenging times, we rekindle our hope that God will wipe away every tear, just as He has promised, that He will mend the brokenhearted, and will re-establish His Kingdom on earth.

It's easy to find outward reasons to be pessimistic. Most outward signs seem to provide clear evidence that God's Kingdom is somehow in retreat, that He is not in charge of the world He created out of nothing, and that events are spinning out of control. The future, it would seem, could not be less certain.

But let us ask ourselves - where exactly are we looking for the great changes to take place? Are we looking for the world to change for the better on its own? Maybe we are looking for help to political leaders who promise such change? Perhaps we are looking for other people - particularly clergy and faithful in the Church - to improve?

The Lord reminds us that His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), that the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21). This is His direction to us, to lead us to look in the proper place to make the only meaningful change that can take place in the world.

As we begin a new year, hoping and praying for change in the world, let us be reminded that until our own life in God changes, until our prayers are prayed, our sins confessed, and our lives renewed, no change - even if it should happen outwardly - will ever satisfy the longing of our heart. And it is this very longing that Christ came to heal and to satisfy when He was born of a Virgin, died, and rose from death.

May we be granted the wisdom to use the time given us in 2009 to make such changes in our own lives, turning inward, through our hearts, toward God, that we may experience true and lasting change in our life.

- FrG+

"Ours must be an orthodoxy of the heart, not just the mind."

-St.Tikhon of Zadonsk