At the beginning of Advent, I wrote about how Advent is the beginning of the new Church Year, and how it differs from the calendar year. But now it is January and IS the beginning of our new calendar year. So I’m saying Happy New Year again. Both New Years are valid and both of them offer us valuable gifts.
I have to say I really like the month of January. After the busyness of the holiday season- which now runs from October through December, in terms of added preparations-January is slower, and a chance to breathe easier and to regroup. I look forward to sorting, sifting and cleaning out closets in January. It’s a time for me to take on sewing projects that I don’t get to do in the summer gardening season.
New Year’s Day, or the idea of New Year’s Day, can give us the feeling of standing on the brink of possibility. It can be like looking at a field of fresh snow, with not a footprint in it, sparkling with sun-reflected diamonds. All gardeners know that when the seed catalogs arrive in the mailbox, anything is possible. We dreamily look at the beautiful color photos (all the more alluring because of the brown or snowy yard out the window), and begin to make lists of what we would like to try this year: new varieties of vegetables, shrubs and that blue perennial hibiscus we never have been able to get to grow …yet.
Here at St. Peter we are similarly dreaming. The Sunday School will begin using a new curriculum in which the teachers will be able to customize the lessons by choosing what to download from the Augsburg website. The budget has been drafted to allow for new possibilities. The Stewardship Team is looking forward to sharing with the congregation more about how lives are changing through the ministries of our congregation, and the love and support we give each other in so many ways.
We know that the new snow will be walked on, or shoveled or will change from diamonds to ice and grayness at some point. (And that the weather will stay cold) Every gardener knows that the best laid plans have to account for weather and insects. Life will get busier again, and before we know it, Lent will be here. But for now, January is here- the time of dreaming. See it as the gift that it is, and dream of the possibilities of 2015. Happy New Year!
-Janet Blank, Faith Formation Coordinator
(This piece is also published in the St. Peter monthly newsletter, the Vision Voice.)