There is something about this time in-between Christmas and New Year's that invites reflection. Perhaps it is because everyone and their brother is doing a "Year in Review" or Countdowns of music and highest grossing movies. We pause, we look back at the past 365 days, and we at 2015 like a blank canvass beckoning us to create something new, different. That is what resolutions are after all. They are our attempt to re-create, re-imagine, and re-purpose our present life in a new way. I think it is healthy to look back at the last year, but not only as a trip down memory lane. Rather, ask yourself, when did you feel most fully alive? For me, it was on our summer vacation to Disney World. Yes, it was hot...Florida tends to be that way in the summer. Yes, it was crowded...Disney tends to be that way, almost always. But there was something about the ease of laughter in our family, we did not try to do it all, we took it easy ourselves. Unfortunately, that vacation pace did not last. What moment did you feel most fully alive this past year? What was it about that moment?
It is also healthy to look ahead. How does that moment of feeling fully alive guide you into the days ahead as you put up your 2015 calendar? For me, it is a reminder to laugh, to stop trying to control every second, and to be more open to the natural flow of God's presence in my life. To be sure this does not come easy to my Type A, hyper-aware of every imperfection usual way of life. But, when I lean into a more grace-filled and grace-flow way of life, I do feel more fully alive. Now don't get me wrong, it still bothers me when the lift chair at the 11 pm Christmas Eve service starts beeping out of control! But I also know that one moment does not need to define or ruin everything. Rather it is a reminder that I live in the messy middle, the joyful tensions, and the real stuff of life. Or to quote one of my favorite theologians, "At some point your plan for personal salvation will fail you." The key word here is "your". Resolutions are often about being in constant control of diet or time or even happiness. I will be happy, you say, with that tiny vein in your neck visibly pulsing. We cannot will ourselves to happily ever after. Grace happens. It is serendipitous and surprising. That is not to say we just sit back and live life on cruise control. We need to listen and respond faithfully. We need to be open and ready to get caught up in what God is doing. Then, we need to let God be God.
I pray there is more than a trace of God's grace in these dwindling days of 2014 and as 2015 dawns around us. I pray you sense God's presence in a way that opens you to be fully alive and to let the hope, peace, joy, and love of God entering the world at Christmas guide you every day next year.
Until next year...blessings and Happy New Year ~