Then [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.
But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
(Luke 2:51-52 NIV)
The best storytellers know they have to provide enough detail so their listeners can form an image of the scene they are speaking into existence. They also know that it’s all too easy to try to add too much detail that only weighs the listener down until they are no longer able to follow the story you’re telling. It’s a delicate balance.
We see this in the gospels of Jesus frequently where whole decades full of meaningful events get condensed into a single paragraph, sometimes even a single clause of a single sentence, before moving on to the next episode which better serves the story.
As a pastor/storyteller/writer myself, I wonder what the right level of detail is for a day like today. It is, after all, New Year’s Eve. In a little over 720 minutes this one is done. Is there anything left that needs to be said? Furthermore, is this the sort of year that we will condense into a single phrase when we tell the stories of our own lives?
“Oof, that one. Let me tell you about that year.”
Or maybe instead, “A bunch of things happened. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Which will it be? Is there anything we can do here, at the very end, to try to redeem 2020 before we move on?
More so than in years past, we aren’t really able to start something totally new just yet. Within our church community, there are more people either in the hospital or home sick with COVID-19 today than at any time in this pandemic. Please hold your neighbors in prayer and care today, remembering that recovery is always a verb before it’s a noun and there is healing work to be done for these people and those caring for them.
As much as we would like it to be true, it is not possible to tie up an entire year’s struggles and lessons into one final message. Instead, please take these remaining hours of this year to reflect on the experiences you’ve had you never thought you would. Think about what you’ve learned, and what challenged the way you saw yourself and those closest to you. Finally, think about Jesus and remember who you may need to forgive to move on with any sort of wholeness into the new year to come.
That’s the best, one last thing I’ve got: fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
Grace and Peace,
Thank You From Greg, Gretchen, and Pastor Ben for the Christmas Gifts
In an atypical year, many of you shared with typical generosity. Thank you, from each of us. Gretchen wrote a nice Thank You card to the congregation. If you’d like to read it, we can e-mail you a scanned copy.
Winter Small Groups to Sustain Faith Formation
What questions do you have about just how to live, work, pray, and love in the world today? Send your thoughts to Pastor Ben as he, Bruce, Lynn, and others choose the curriculum for upcoming seasonal and ongoing studies.
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