I’m in the midst of cleaning out my office right now. Note: I’m not packing it up, or packing it in—I’m not leaving. When I arrived here in September of 2012, there was a lot of stuff in a lot of drawers and cabinets that a lot of previous pastors thought, “Oh, the next guy might like this.” (I know some of those former pastors are reading this right now, and yes, that feeling of guilt is well-deserved.) And I ignored it, and I’ve been working around it, and now I’m recycling a whole lot of it. The important stuff stays, the once-important stuff goes. And that’s all right.
I find myself drawn to cleaning and organizing around Christmastime every year. Part of it is because when I move, it’s in December; part of it I’m sure has to do with the childhood trauma of cleaning for ever-present company around the holidays. But I think the main impetus is that a year is ending, a new year is starting, and taking inventory and organizing is a good thing to do at this time. I’d even argue it’s a form of spiritual practice.
Last year, as I cleaned and packed my apartment, I prayed a lot for this church. I was worried that 2015 would be the Impossible Year. And friends, I was right. Impossibly, we survived and thrived in our stewardship and giving—not just for the general fund, but for fourteen special offerings and collections of everything from blankets to pill bottles. Impossibly, we called Kathy Bouchard as our part-time associate minister, who has revitalized and in places revived our children’s ministry at the church. We’ve impossibly had JYF (fourth and fifth grade) youth group, we’ve impossibly sent a full van of youth and their adults to Denver, Colorado. We’ve impossibly celebrated marriage equality. We have had conversations and classes and groups on insurmountable, unavoidable, impossible topics. We have built community, served community, and grown as a community. We have seen Impossible become yet another thing that’s not as powerful as the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Or as the angel Gabriel told Mary, “for nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Christmas Eve is tomorrow. We celebrate the miraculous in the mundane, the mundane in the miraculous, and God moving marvelously in it all. Impossibly, and absolutely. It will be something else. Thank you for a marvelous year, friends, and here’s to the next. I look forward to seeing you Thursday.
P.S. Star Wars Episode VII was absolutely incredible. Thank you for letting me geek out a little on Sunday.