It is fitting that we begin a New Year with a feast of Mary; in 1969 he feast of Mary, Mother of God, formerly celebrated on October 11, was transferred to January 1, replacing the feast of the Circumcision.
I am using a book of icons on the Mother of God by William Hart McNichols with beautiful reflections on each icon by Mirabai Starr. Here is one of my favorites: (the icon has the title of Mother of God of Akita, Our Lady of the Snows). Here is the reflection:
teach m to love the Holy One
as you love the Holy One,
with utter abandon.
Teach me to pray as you pray,
without words or concepts to hinder
my connection with my Beloved.
Teach me to serve the world as you do,
serenely smiling through tears of blood.
Let the peace you proclaim come at last,
blanketing the earth like snow,
permeating the thirsty land
and penetrating the roots of all nations,
so that a new season of goodness
may burst into bloom everywhere.