Pastor’s Letter for January 2012 – Looking Forward to a New Year

Peace and grace to you,

A friend of mine sends out each year a synopsis of everything she has accomplished during the past year.  She writes about her trips, meetings and accomplishments achieved.  At the end, she encourages each of her friends and families to do the same.

If you were to write such a summary of 2011 (or maybe you do this as a regular practice), what would you write?  What have been your accomplishments?  What would you do better next year?

I can honestly say that the second half of this year was much better than the first half.  For the first time in a long time, I believe that I am doing exactly what God wants me to do and that in itself is very satisfying.  In turn, I know there is much more I can do to be more pleasing to God.

In a couple of weeks, the various committees of the church will be writing their annual reports and we will then see what the church has accomplished over the year.  Then we can look forward…

The scripture reading for the First Sunday after Christmas is Isaiah 61:10-62:3.  In it, the prophet says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…  For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”  (Isaiah 61:10a, b-11)

There is a great promise in these words, a promise that righteousness will become a way of life for the world.  God has planted these seeds in each one of us and they are taking root and sprouting.  I have seen such a generosity of spirit and self over the past month in each of you.  My hope is that this will continue into our daily lives after the gifts have been unwrapped and the Christmas decorations put away.  In important ways, we are already a “crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD” (v.62:3), through all the ways you have been a gift to another.  Yet like me, I know that there is so much still to be done until we can experience the “new heaven and new earth”, (Rev. 21:1) that is also God’s promise to us.  Let us thank God for where we have been and look forward to where we are going!  May the seeds of righteousness continue to grow within us!  Moreover, may each of you have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

I thank God for you,

Pastor Kathy Nealand

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