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Dear friends,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happy New Year, again! The church calendar marked the beginning of a new year back in
November with the first Sunday of Advent, but now we mark the beginning of a new year on
the secular calendar.

“New Year’s resolutions”, “New Year, New Me”, you know the routine. Whether it’s been
you, or someone you know; people have used the turning of the New Year to try to better
themselves or their environment. And, while we don’t need January 1st to start making
positive changes in our lives, it can be a helpful motivator.

Why, you ask? What’s so significant about a secular “holiday” like New Year’s Day?

I believe that we, as people, crave and function better with routine and rhythm. And,
markers of seasons and passing of time, can help us find those routines and rhythms when
we find ourselves out of sync with them. Why do you think we have a church calendar? Why
do we have seasons in the church year? It keeps us flowing. It gives us direction. It keeps
us in rhythm with one another, and it keeps us in rhythm with the story of the life of Jesus.
The story that has been told, and the story that continues to be written.

The importance of these markers of time was made very evident to me this past Sunday,
when we transferred the celebration of Christmas Eve to the first Sunday of Christmas,
which was coincidentally New Year’s Day. Many of us were still mournful that we had to
cancel our Christmas Eve service on December 24th due to disastrous weather and
illnesses. But, when we came together on January 1st, and we celebrated the birth of the
Christ child, who is Emmanuel, God with us; I could feel a sense of relief and joy in the air.
And, so many people came up to me afterward to express how grateful they were that the
council made the decision to transfer the celebration of Christmas Eve to that Sunday.
Marking the passing of time matters. And, in a lot of ways, I think it’s vital to our journey of
life together. So, from me to you, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And, if you’ve been looking for an event to make some changes in life, make those New
Year’s resolutions. Or, don’t, and just wait until Lent to do it. Because the calendar is always
flowing, and there’s always another chance to find your rhythm in life, work, and the
Kingdom of God.

Your sibling in Christ,
Pastor Robert