Wednesday, December 23, 2015
As we get to the end of the year, people naturally start reflecting on the past year, the changes that came to their lives. The media are all making end of year lists, best and worst of this or that. I don't need to over-explain this.
I asked m Facebook community about their big stories for this past year, specifying either personal or in the news. To my surprise, they all went very personal. There were wonderful things---one visited eight different countries, one painted a mural, one is creating a garden, another knitted 350 caps for a children's charity, one rededicated herself to her art, another got a new kitten. Joyful and forward looking things.
Of course, there were also very hard things in the thread. Parents died, marriages dissolved, a child in rehab, a job in jeopardy.
Happy or sad, all these things could be dividing lines in a life. There was before this and now there is after this and everything has to change, or at least adjust.
I've also been thinking about news stories of this year. Some only need a name or phrase to bring to mind the stories. Mother Emanuel. Sandra Bland. Paris. ISIL. Other stories, more joyful, also come to mind, like the Episcopal Church, a body with a history in slave trade and racism that prompted the formation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, now has it's first African American Presiding Bishop. Marriage equality became the law of the land. I could go on, but all of these feel like dividing line stories, if not for the whole world, then for significant communities.
Another related word comes to mind, however, and that's "retrospect." There may have been any number of things that happened that we will not reflect upon as the calendar turns over to 2016 but years from now they will have grown in significance. A person you met, someplace you volunteered your time or talents, an ordinary day at work that had that one incident you didn't even notice at the time.
All of which to say, I think it's a fine and worthwhile thing to take some time in the coming week to reflect upon what has happened in the world the last 12 months, even better if it spurs you toward some positive action.
Let's not nail the lid too tightly on the year, however. There is room for the Spirit to move in all our circumstances, big and small, to bring us to revelation, redemption, freedom, forgiveness, grace.
Yes, that. Let us reflect on this past year in the light of grace.