As I write this I'm sitting in a quiet room with my family, in front of a fire. It's New Year's Eve. I've learned over the years that we are not big revelers on this night. Instead, someone is reading; more than one laptop is open; music is playing through a couple of different headphones; and we'll call it a "family evening." Maybe this isn't a typical New Year's Eve, although it is for us a lovely moment. And I am grateful for it.
I rarely engage in end of year reflection. It seems forced. In truth, any day is a good day to change course. Any day is a good day to start over-to, in fact, be born again. Kids, know this perfectly. Play games with children and you'll here "I want a do-over." Kids will start again all the time, and hardly need to wait for an annual extravaganza for the chance to change. And yet, tonight I feel gladly reflective-and deeply grateful. As I look back over the last week I picture us-the Grace Family-gathered for Christmas Eve. Over two rich services we welcomed so many people-800, to be precise. I am so grateful for the hands and hearts that make it possible for us to open wide our doors. With love we string lights and light candles; with heart we rehearse music; with hands and intention we craft ritual; and all of it together is just remarkable. As I closed the building on Christmas Eve, and let candle smoke drift away, my heart could sing. We do this well, and it matters. It really does. Thank you for your presence and support-then, now, and into the future. Grace is not magic. It is People and Spirit and Desire. And God. And we work hard, with hope and intention.
I will begin this new year on something of a "retreat"-although I hardly want to call it such. I'm not retreating from anything. I am, instead, trying to move toward something new-something deeper than a new year. For a few days I will be on my own, grateful that those around me can allow me such Sabbath time. And then I will spend a few nights deep in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho-sleeping on snow at 9,000 feet. For me, that's close to Heaven-and close to a perfect entry into a new year. We never, ever know what a new year, or new day will bring. What we do know is that we bring who we are to that day and year-and that every day and year is a chance to have our lives both blessed and transformed. I hope we all can experience something of that in the days and year ahead.