We often take things for granted. We go to bed at night expecting a new day to appear in the morning. And so it does. But the way we live that new day includes choices. Do we say, "Oh, Lord, another day with so much to do." Or do you pray, "Oh, Lord, thank you for the gift of this new day." Thinking of each day as a gift can make a difference in the way we live it.

For the elderly, a new day may come as a surprise. "Yeah! I'm still alive!" A new day may not be taken for granted. Yet, when it comes, we have another opportunity to welcome the gift of life and to share its blessings with others.

In my daily prayers, I give thanks for the gift of a new day. On Thursdays, I say a special prayer by J. Philip Newell. Here is the prayer:

"In the gift of this new day,

in the gift of the present moment,

in the gift of time and eternity intertwined

let me be thankful

let me be attentive

let me be open to what has never happened before,

in the gift of this new day,

in the gift of the present moment,

in the gift of time and eternity intertwined.

Such a prayer is good at any age, and perhaps especially good for the elderly. Old age can come quickly. The past may seem so recent that we feel entitled to a new day. But the next day may be our last. That recognition is not meant to frighten us since we are in the hands of God. What the next life will be like is a mystery, but we trust that God will lead us closer to the Source of Love when we die. Meanwhile, we can make the most of each day that is given to us.

An evening prayer that you might like to say before the gift of a new day is this:

"O Lord, support us all the day long until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last." Amen.