Happy New Year!

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,

By the time you read this letter, Christmas 2015 will be but a distant memory, but as I am writing this in my favorite coffee shop, folks stream in and out as they hurriedly purchase gifts for the “Big day” that is fast approaching. It seems like just yesterday I was writing the January 2015 newsletter and here we are at the cusp of 2016. If you are anything like me you secretly harbor hopes for a new year that features a slimmer, well-organized, fiscally responsible, generous, kinder and more patient new you. But even as we day-dream the “new and improved” resolution-promised self we hope to transform into we know that we fail more often than we succeed. So what if we changed our perspective? One of the scripture passages that I have been sitting with a lot lately is Isaiah 43 (go ahead, look it up-I’ll wait). It’s this beautifully intriguing passage written from the perspective of God. I find comfort in its opening promises: “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” There are no conditions in these words, we BELONG to God. And this love note from God continues: “you are precious in my eyes, you are honored and I love you” (vs 4). We are then reminded of God’s power and might, that none can compare to our God who saves us. Verse 19 is reminiscent of the Advent season as it proclaims “Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.”


At the dawn of this New Year that is what we are hoping for isn’t it: a new way, a new path in the wilderness of life? We long for instruction and vision, hope for a good year, a good life. But like my New Year’s resolutions, reality strikes, beginning at verse 22 as we are reminded of how we have failed. And yet, the new thing still exists! The Hope is not lost for even as our shortcomings are recalled pure Grace is given. The next chapter (44) continues in reassuring us of the promises of God, our maker, our king, our redeemer.

We can go ahead and make those resolutions, or abstain from them altogether…because what is made clear in Isaiah 43-44 is that this “new thing” is coming whether or not we are ready. Throughout the Advent season we were reminded over and over to be ready, that the birth of Jesus would be soon. And Christmas came whether or not our houses were cleaned, our gifts were wrapped, cookies decorated, or hearts were opened. That is the most wonderful good news about our God. God comes into our lives whether we are ready or not. God sees us for who we are and loves us anyway. This year let’s stop relying solely on ourselves to do the new thing and instead seek to see the new thing which God is doing in our lives, in our church, in our community and in the world. It is when we see, acknowledge, and embrace all that is already coming into being that we can then join in this wondrous new thing as all the world is renewed by God’s love.

May God’s grace and peace fill your new year with all hope and joy,

Pastor Tara