Pastor Dan
January 2018

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January 2018 is upon us and in its arrival there is a sense of newness which is reinforced when it comes to writing out checks and other documents which require us to write in the date. In the newness of the first few weeks, I generally am on top of the change and there is even a sense of pride as I remember to write the correct digits of the new year. But after about two or three weeks, if I am pushed for time and running on autopilot, I find that the newness hasn't replaced the habit reinforced over the previous twelve months. I find the date of the previous year, without any effort, flows onto the check and the incorrect year is written. Some newness takes time to sink in and become a part of our day to day.

Often times I find myself making some sort of new commitment as the New Year comes about. I often seek to add a new discipline or try to commit to giving something up, or express the desire to shed a few pounds or maybe quit a certain habit such as whining. Some years, I make a commitment to add something like reading a new devotional, or commit to spending more time doing this or that. These commitments are good and healthy and well. I don't think I will ever give up the mindset of establishing newness in my routine as the New Year steamrolls me whether I like it or not.

In the month of December as I write this, with 2018 closing in, I was pondering about the things I would like to leave in 2017. You know, those "just let 2017 hold onto them for eternity and I can move on without them" type of things. The things that I considered gladly leaving behind, I soon realized that when I wake up on January 01, they'd still be there; following me like my shadow. Within moments, with the help of God's working, I then began to consider those things that I'd like to bring with me into the New Year. And this process, of thinking about the things I would like to carry with me into the New Year proved to be a very rewarding process.

Some of the things I would like to bring with me into this New Year are rooted in what God has given to me. These are the gifts of faith, of love, of care, of hope, of the things that warm my heart and soul, the things that inspire and bring wonder, the things that can bring a smile to my face when I am not feeling the joy and the realization that these gifts come to fruition because of and through the relationships the Lord has established in my life and living. As such, some of the other things that I truly desire to carry with me into the New Year are those relationships. The family God has given, with all its ups and downs, the family of congregation, all of you who MOST of the time bring such joy and inspiration, as well as the relationship of community, and most definitely the relationship that God has given in His coming to us in the Christ.

The "things" I desire to carry with me are those things that have "sunk in" my life and they are the things that make life the richest and fullest I can know. These are things which have shaped my life in the most wonderful of ways. These are the things which keep the light alive when the darkness seems to be beckoning to overwhelm and devour. These are the things God has given knowing that these are the things I need to know what life in Christ is all about.

May the Lord Bless you this New Year and give you Peace.

In Christ's love and service, Pastor Dan

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