Happy New Year!

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Our birthdays mark the passing of our individual lives, but it seems to me that the coming of a New Year marks the passing of time. All time is a gift from God. The New Year invites us to consider how we use the gift of time.

Each year I select a daily devotional book to use in my personal daily meditations, ponderings and prayers. This year I have chosen Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the path to Freeing Your Soul by Melody Beattie. Melody Beattie is best known for popularizing the concept of co-dependency through her book Codependent No More (1987).

I want to share the January 1st reading with you. It is called “Honor the Beginning”.

Beginnings can be delicate or explosive. They can start almost invisibly or arrive with a big bang. Beginnings hold the promise of new lessons to be learned, new territory to be explored, and old lessons to be recalled, practiced, and appreciated. Beginnings hold ambiguity, promise, fear, and hope.

Don’t let the lessons, the experiences of the past, dampen your enthusiasm for beginnings. Just because it’s been hard doesn’t mean it will always be that difficult. Don’t let the heartbreaks of the past cause you to become cynical, close you off to life’s magic and promise. Open yourself wide to all that the universe has to say.

Let yourself begin anew. Pack your bags. Choose carefully what you bring, because packing is an important ritual. Take along some humility and the lessons of the past. Toss in some curiosity and excitement about what you haven’t yet learned. Say your good-byes to those you’re leaving behind. Don’t worry who you will meet or where you shall go. The way has been prepared for you. The people you are to meet will be expecting you. A new journey has begun. Let it be magical. Let it unfold.

(Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996, p. 3-4)

I like that. May this New Year unfold right before our very eyes in ways that exceed our fondest hopes, that surpass our most beautiful dreams and that even transcend our most fervent prayers.

It is such a privilege to walk with you in this journey we call the year 2012.

Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine. See you soon.

With love,
Pat

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This Sunday, January 8th, we will celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates the Magi’s visit to baby Jesus. Because the Magi came from distant lands, the Magi’s visit is often associated with an important Christmas truth:  Jesus came to show us that God loves all people. There are no exceptions. God’s forgiveness, love and acceptance are for everyone. The Magi remind us that it is not our place to place limits on God’s love. Rather it is our place to expand the reach of God’s love by welcoming all as beloved children of God.

Pat’s message will be “What Do We Get When Fear Replaces Wisdom?” based on Matthew 2:1-12. When the Magi stop by and visit King Herod, the Magi’s journey toward wisdom comes face to face with the politics of fear. It is not a pretty story – not then and not now.

See you on Sunday.