See, I am making all things new!

(Revelation 21:5)

I’m a person who likes to make lists.  Perhaps some of you are as well.  I make lists so I don’t forget things I would like to do and things I need to do.  I also take great satisfaction from crossing off each item on the list when that item is completed.   It feels good to know things are getting done.  When I get to the end of my list, and all the items are crossed off, I also enjoy turning to a fresh sheet of paper and starting a new list .

I am also a person who crosses off days on my calendar. I still use paper calendars as I find they continue to serve me well.   I cross off each day in part to simply mark the passage of time.  At days’ end, it feels good to know another day has been completed.  This little ritual can also invite me to reflect for a moment on the experiences of the day.  Another reason why I cross days off is so I can glace at my calendar and quickly find what day it currently is. 

At the end of the year, I also find it to be satisfying to start a brand-new calendar.  I usually keep the old one, all written over with lines crossing off every day, for a few years, just in case I need to look back upon it.  The coming year’s calendar however is fresh and clean, with no notes or marks.  As I make the transition from old to new, I can sometimes wonder what the coming year will be like.  Then I write in commitments I know I already have in place for the new year and things I don’t want to forget in the coming months. 

 I think these little practices invite me to think about how I am spending my time and energy.  These rituals also reinforce the very satisfying feeling that can come from completing something you started and knowing you have given it your best.  I’m reminded of the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The reward of a thing well done, is having done it.”   

As we begin a new year, similar emotions come forward.  In the aftermath of all the activities of the Christmas season, as calendars change once again, I can feel a sense of satisfaction looking back at all that has taken place.  Some of the experiences of every year are obviously difficult, frustrating, and at times painful.  Mistakes are always made, and fortunately there is God’s grace.  Other parts of each year, however, are joyful, inspiring, stirring, and deeply meaningful.  Overall, there is a sense of satisfaction knowing another year, one where we’ve done our best, has been completed.  We offer the past year up to God, hopefully learn the things we need to learn from it, turn the page, and start anew. 

I am looking forward to sharing in this new year with you and eager to see how it will unfold.  It will be exciting to continue the many ministries of our congregation and welcome new ones.  It will be rewarding to continue to share life together, and to welcome new people into our midst.  There will be changes and challenges, for sure, but also new opportunities, meaningful experiences, moments of grace and through it all, the profound love of God.  Which means, anything will be possible. 

Blessings in 2022!

Pastor John