The plan for our community fast
Sumite Community Fast

New Year - New Beginnings!

Happy New Year, dear SUMites. We trust your Christmas went well and you’ve stepped into the New Year, yes, it’s 2024, positively.

Photo courtesy of James Wheeler and

As a quick side note, the world often expects us to charge into the new year but after a usually busy December, I find it’s often good to gently step into it. Our souls need it. I’d encourage us all to set aside some time to meet with the Lord and simply rest in His presence. Take some time, if you are able, to simply be peaceful with the lover of our souls. Let Him replenish and refresh you as only he can.

New Beginnings

For much of December as I walked through Advent, I was reminded that when Jesus entered the world as a babe, He brought something new. Himself. And in many unexpected ways.

He continues to offer us something new. It’s in His nature.

I began to sense that newness was a theme for my 2024. And only this morning I read an email newsletter that talked about new beginnings: “Our very life here depends directly on continuous acts of beginning.”

These were words from an Irish poet/philosopher that some of you may have heard of, John O’Donohue.1 If not, look him up as he’s quite marvellous. I’ll finish this post with the poem he wrote about beginnings.

Before I do that, I wanted to share a little about what this might mean for me and what I’m doing about it. I’ve found the past year to be a frustrating one and when I reviewed the year with the Lord over the past week, I got a strong sense to not spend too much time reviewing it, simply to move on and let it go. On Boxing Day I read these words from Isaiah 43:18-19:

"Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"

And so I step into the future expectant. Of what, I’m not exactly sure, but the hope and anticipation that comes with venturing into something new, even if unsure what that might be. Think Abraham.


I’ve allowed myself to get too distracted. For too long. The world throws so much at us that it is easy to use up valuable time scrolling … and scrolling some more. “Distracted people … are habitually diverted to less important things.”2

So, I’ve quit Instagram and will do similar with Twitter. Also, will stay off Facebook for the next few weeks. To abstain and to explore other areas of my ‘media’ consumption that can become all consuming.

The easiest way to change a habit is to introduce a new one. I’ll be reverting to a more structured daily schedule that typically has always worked for me. I’m a creature of structured routine.

I’m determined to finish this Angelguard trilogy this year. Jack Haines, my lead character, keeps bugging me because he wants to start something new himself. That’s where you’ll find me most days now; with Jack and Jesus.

What about You?

What might be a theme for 2024 for yourself? It’d be fun to share in the comments below, encouraging each other in exploring that theme.

A final note on our fast next week. Fasts are great ways to eliminate stuff and start new stuff. We allow Jesus greater access through abstinence. As a result, our airwaves are often clearer, enabling us to better hear Him and what He would have us do. Even a simple daily prayer like, “Lord, how can I please you today?” can become a habit which changes our days.

Know we’ll all be praying for each other as we gently step into our fast next week.

And now to O’Donohue’s poem3. I hope you might find it as inspiring as I did.

For a New Beginning

by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Warmest blessings for 2024.

Grace and peace.

Note: 1. Maria Popova, aka, The Marginalian, A Spell Against Stagnation: John O’Donohue on Beginnings, 30/12/2023, 2. Chris Hall, A Different Way (Harper Collins, New York, 2023), 274. 3. Popova, ibid

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