How A Birthday Blessing Became My New Year’s Word

A Word For The Year

Happy New Year!  Are you heading into 2022 with hope and confidence or with fear and uncertainty?  After the past couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the latter.  Sometimes it helps to choose a word, quote or a scripture passage to focus on during the year.  It’s a New Year’s practice followed by many.

My word for the year is breath.  I decided on that word upon receiving a birthday blessing in early December.

A Birthday Blessing

One of my favorite things about my birthday (thanks to modern technology) is getting birthday wishes from around the country as well as around the world.  This year I heard from a young friend in Brazil, an old schoolmate in Sweden, a woman I met on a mission trip in Uganda, a travel guide we befriended in Scotland and an acquaintance who lives in Israel.

It was the birthday message from the shores of the Sea of Galilee that caught my attention.  As soon as I read Cindy’s message, I knew that breath was my word for 2022.

In her message, she described being inspired by a visit to an old fan shop in Tel Aviv. The shop contained a collection of antique fans along with current models for sale.  Seeing the old fans alongside of the new ones gave her an idea for her birthday greeting for the year.  She noted “each of the fans, whether newer or older models, was designed for one thing — to move air in a beneficial way”. 

From your birth you were designed to impact those around you with kindness, truth, integrity, and compassion. May this coming year be your fresh opportunity to “move the air” around you in a beneficial way, regardless of your age. Encourage and uplift while you still have breath.

Cindy Bayer, The Place of Stories, Israel

Cindy Bayer is one of the most fascinating, godly women I know. She used to live in my hometown and one summer I participated in a Bible study in her home. Our children attended the same school but her daughters are a few years older than my son. She currently lives in an apartment overlooking the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and also has a home, called The Place of Stories, overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  If you would like to know more about her, click here.  She writes a wonderful blog called Jerusalem Journal and her website explains her unique ministry in Israel.

Why Breath?

The idea of breath is simple yet profound. You can’t see a breath unless it’s a really cold day and that doesn’t happen too often where I live.  A breath is natural, automatic.  You don’t have to put a lot of thought into taking a breath. But, without breath, there is no life.

We catch our breath when startled or winded, hold our breath in anticipation or when the doctor instructs us to, or take a deep breath before doing something scary.  A newborn cries and takes its first breath and a husband loves his wife until his last dying breath. If we find someone delightful, we say they’re a breath of fresh air. Something exceptionally beautiful is breathtaking.

The Bible is full of references to the breath of God and the Psalms say everything that has breath should praise the Lord.

Putting Action To The Word

I have printed my friend’s birthday blessing and I’m going to post it on my mirror as a reminder to myself of how I want to live my life in 2022. I want to “move the air” in a beneficial way to those around me. I want to be encouraging, compassionate, kind, truthful and full of integrity while I still have breath. Like the act of taking a breath, I want it to be a natural, automatic part of my life.  And, when things get chaotic and anxiety threatens, I will stop and catch my breath and focus my attention on the One who gives me breath.

How about you? Are you ready for 2022? It’s right in front of us. Take a deep breath and step into it.


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