Unwrapping God’s Gifts this New Year

    I suppose a predictable blog post for the New Year would be about resolutions and making positive changes in your life –healthier behavior, more prudent decisions, self-control, breaking bad habits, etc. But this is a different kind of year. We’ve all been “incarcerated” for the past ten months and we may have learned some lessons from this painful, sobering opportunity. Here are a few lessons I’ve gathered:

Death is a definite possibility. Wow! Unpack that one for a while. How does living change with death at the door?  Make haste to love. Be even more generous with your time and attention and money. Our short time on this planet is precious. Don’t postpone a loving gesture or word. Take a risk in the direction of love. Make your own list and perhaps honor these lessons into the New Year.

Life’s meaning and much of its value lies in small moments of connection, kindness and beauty. We’ve all had to live “small” this past year. Going forward , I hope we can keep appreciating “small” blessings – walking, nature, a greeting, a morning prayer, humming a tune.

And how about honoring and valuing your inner life. Joy cannot be choreographed. It comes and goes. Like grace or the weather, we cannot control it. But we can honor and feel our emotions and dreams and sensations and deem them precious.  We can set the stage for joy and grace to enter by being “in touch” with ourselves and with the spiritual realities and encounters that God provides.

     For this New Year I’m hoping to get back to “normal” but not the normal of rushing, cell distraction and a constant outward focus. Perhaps we can hold onto these small, modest, more vertical lessons from what will be our pandemic past.

    Then again I look forward to some big plans – a big trip, dinner with friends, even a wedding or the birth of a grandchild. It’s nice to anticipate again, to look forward. I’m sure God has something joyful and life-giving in mind for you in this New Year.

Let’s unwrap God’s gifts together.

Reverend Dr. Ken Ruge

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