I have had a lot of fun New Year’s Eves in my life. I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, where there is a new year’s tradition of lighting off fireworks willy nilly in the streets. The effect is beautiful, mesmerizing, and let’s be honest kinda dangerous! I’ve watched fireworks over the London Eye. I spent a very colorful new year on a remote Thai island. And I watched the ball drop in Times Square. Of course, most of my new year’s eves have been much less exciting. And quiet nights with friends and family have been far more common since my children were born.
Whether the new year was crazy or quiet, though, one thing that has been constant as I’ve begun each new turn around the sun has been a sense of a new beginning, of new possibilities and potentialities. But somehow things feel a little different this year. I think 2020 was just so different from anything else I’ve experienced that I don’t have the usual “new year, new me” feeling. And I suspect many of you are feeling the same way.
Whether it’s spending Christmas away from your hometown for the first time, or an unusually quiet new year, there are many sacrifices that we’ve all had to make this year and that might feel especially strong during the holidays. But please don’t let that get you down if New Year’s Day is something you usually look forward to.
As Andrew often says in his sermons and emails, there’s never a wrong time to jump into the life of the church and that’s just as true now as it is outside of the pandemic. In fact, it’s probably even more true now because now more than ever we can feel the hole in our lives that can only be filled by God. We often try to silence it through work, socializing, eating, kids’ activities, and every possible kind of busy-ness. But when that frenetic schedule is taken from us – as it has been in 2020 – we suddenly feel that ache. And if you, or your spouse, or your children are feeling that ache right now, please use the new year as an excuse to dive in!
We will be starting the year by reading the book of Acts, which is the story of the early church. If you were hesitant to join in with the Revelation reading in 2020, let me assure you that Acts is entirely different. It’s a history book and is therefore straightforward and to the point. It has a lot of amazing and inspirational stories about those first few years of the church. I promise you and your family will find it very rewarding! We are also having worship services every Sunday in the church parking lot (9am & 11am) where you and your family can worship with the rest of the congregation in a socially distanced and responsible manner.
So even though 2020 might have left you feeling a little raw, and 2021 might feel a little risky, please take the same opportunity to turn over a new leaf as you may have done in any other new year. Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and if 2021 is the year that you and your family finally make the commitment you’ve been thinking about for a long time, then it will be a year you cherish for the rest of your life. I can’t wait to see all of you soon!
Happy New Year!