The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3: 22-24
Merry Christmas! Yes, I know this letter will reach you after Christmas day, but the Christmas season actually begins on December 25 and ends twelve days later on Epiphany, January 6, so you will receive this during the Christmas season. As we move thorough Christmas into the New Year of 2020, I encourage you to experience each day knowing that God’s love and mercy “are new every morning.”
Several weeks ago I began an almost daily practice of driving to Samoa Beach shortly before sunrise to take a short walk on the beach. This was my first experience of walking on the same ocean beach at the same time (as measured by the sun) on successive days. On the second day I was immediately struck by how different the ocean and beach looked from the day before. Over the past 54 days I have walked the same section of beach on 41 different mornings and no two experiences have been the same. Years ago at Lake Tahoe I remember looking at the ripple pattern of sand underneath the clear water at the end of the Kings Beach pier and in that moment I realized that we never really look at the same thing twice. Even as I watched, the water and wind action were rearranging those sand ripples. At Samoa Beach the changes are more dramatic and a true reminder that God is always in the process of creating, of making things new. We, made in the image of God, are called to be co-creators, demonstrating, modeling and living out the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love we associate with the weeks proceeding Christmas Day and that are what Jesus was sent to remind us of and call us to over 2000 years ago at his birth.
The Hope we associate with Jesus and our Christian faith is not hoping and wishing for some particular thing or outcome, but rather it is a way of being, of being open to surprise, to the unimaginable. When we speak of the Peace that Christ brings it is about more than the absence of war or even the personal assurance of our salvation. The Peace of Jesus the Christ must involve engaging with and listening to those who are different from us in all the wonder of God’s diverse creation. The Joy of Christ is not a result of happenstance in our life, but rather the result of gratitude that we cultivate in all the circumstances of our lives. Too often we understand love to be a feeling but the Love of Christ is a way of saying yes to belonging, of expanding, recognizing and accepting that we are all one with every other person, life form, the entire earth and the universe.
As you greet and move into the New Year, please take time to observe the constant renewing of God’s creation as manifest in the natural world and cultivate the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love of Jesus the Christ.
Happy New Year!