Happy New Year! As we transition from Advent and the celebration of Christ birth, we move into the twelve days of Christmas. Yes, that’s right. The twelve days of Christmas do not actually begin until after Christmas. At the end of the twelve days, we celebrate Epiphany on January 6th. For those that thought everything wrapped up on December 25th, this joyous season continues for a little longer to kick off the New Year.
Last month, I spent some time reflecting on all that God blessed us with in 2021. I believe there are even bigger things on the horizon for us in 2022. One of the challenges still in front of us is the pandemic and its continuation into this next year. I know that 2020 and 2021 have been difficult for many, and it seems unclear when this struggle to end the pandemic will end. Again, I will encourage those who have not been vaccinated to do so. If you are vaccinated, then please get the booster. Please consider others health and wellbeing when making these decisions on how to be good neighbors to those around us. One of the blessings since my arrival, we have not had to close the church due to a reported case of Covid. I certainly would like to keep that gift intact going into the next year.
A couple of thoughts go through my mind as I sit down to write this piece. First, I wrote a couple of months ago about having an inward focus. Second, I think about the townhall meeting we had in December. Despite the pandemic and the challenges that have come with, we have overcome a lot of things. I think some of the struggles we still experience came before the pandemic, but it doesn’t mean we cannot get past them.
Changing culture is not easy and presents a whole other set of problems. In the Bible, we read about how God creates covenants with the people and launches the start of something new. During times where a new covenant is created, it’s like an epiphany showing us that something better is awaiting us and that we can overcome any issues in front of us.
As we move into 2022, let us continue to meet new neighbors, and not only nurture their relationship with Christ but love on them as we transform the world together. Although loving our neighbors seems like a simple message, we must in order to help turn things around in and at Marble. Engage with those around you, love on them as God loves you, and may our neighborhood grow spiritually and physically. I thought our town hall meeting provided an opportunity to talk about those things on our mind, and also a chance to continue moving forward. God is with us, and Christ is working through us, when we let them. I am your neighbor, and I love all of you even when it might be difficult to believe. Won’t you be my neighbor, and continue to walk with me on this journey? If so, then nothing can stop us from building the neighborhood of God’s kingdom.
Let me leave you with a couple of questions to discern during the twelve days of Christmas:
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
Also, what direction do you truly believe God is leading us in for the New Year?
Let us continue to engage in healthy conversation, show respect to each other, and build the neighborhood as part of God’s kingdom here on earth. Happy New Year, neighbors!
Peace be with you.