Exhale. Better yet, collapse on the couch, kick your shoes off and let out an exasperated sigh of relief. After the holiday seasonal blitz that starts with gobbling Halloween candy; dirtying pots, pans, and generally the kitchen for Thanksgiving; caroling, a barrage of lights, and piles of ripped up wrapping paper at Christmas; and toasting it all off at the strike of New Year. We all need to exhale.
So sit back with a mug of piping hot coffee and inhale the steam that wafts around you and reflect on the past year: Where did you experience God? What was difficult for you? How were you able to make your community more like God’s kingdom? Some of you may reflect all of this into journal writings, while others of you may stare out off your back porch and let your thoughts dance with refracting winter sunlight.
However you reflect, don’t let it stop there. Stand back up again and take the first steps into the new year out of the steps from last year. Set goals for yourself: How do you want to experience God this year? How will you alleviate someone else’s sorrow this year? How will you take part in creating the Kingdom of God around you? And then find someone else to share your goals with.
The Youth will be setting their own spiritual goals, so join us in this journey as well. Our reflection won’t be done in a journal or on the back porch; we’ll be joining a couple hundred of our friends in Huntsville, Alabama for the Winter Youth Summit to kick off our year. We’ll reflect as we worship and gather in small groups. We’ll set goals in our quiet times. Then we’ll head back to live those dreams out back here in our community. So exhale and get ready for what God is going to do this next year. I have a feeling you’ll be out of breath by the end of the year.