Looking Back, Gazing Forward

Sunset DuneI write this post on the threshold of 2013 and I have so many mixed emotions about … stuff. The ending of one year and the beginning of another usually brings reflection and anticipation. This year is … different.

What are your personal traditions as you let go of the past year and step into the new year? Once I made it through Advent and Christmas, I would focus on setting goals for the upcoming year in both my ministry and business. It was a seamless, natural process that flowed despite whatever upheaval may have been also present, like selling a company or preparing for surgery.

I’ve always welcomed transitions and change. I learned long ago that embracing the inevitable is a whole lot easier than remaining stuck, stubbornly resisting the normal evolution of life. Nothing is ever certain this side of eternity and engaging with impeding transition and change at least let me feel more in control. There’s something to be said about willingness as an useful approach to change.

I was already wrung out from 2012 when we received word of my brother’s unexpected death. Making the unplanned trip to California and gathering with family and long-ago friends was a jolt of reality. The surprising gift of grace was doing my brother’s memorial service. It was a bittersweet reminder of how much I’ve missed my vocation. The fragility of life, the isolation of distance, the complexity of relationships, and the responsibility we all have one to another has given me much to ponder as I look back on 2012.

I now gaze at the horizon of 2013. I already know there are some changes in the near future for Saint Sam and myself. We are excited as the details all fall into place.

Personally, I don’t know how anyone navigates life this side of eternity without faith in One who sustains, equips, guides, and empowers. There is great comfort knowing God is intimately invested in me and my life. I don’t believe God is the grand chess master strategizing and manipulating my life as God’s pawn on the chess board of life. Instead, God makes God’s home with me.

I’m reminded of a verse: And the Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). In this case, something is lost in the translation from Greek to English. The essence of the translation is of making a home. An even better image is of pitching a tent. That’s the essence of the Christmas story: God, in the person of Jesus, came to dwell among us. God’s tent is pitched among us because relationships – connecting with God and one another – are most important.

I’m gazing forward. The only thing I see is God’s pitched tent. No doubt, the rest will unfold.

Blessings for the New Year ahead!

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