Skip to main content

A Special New Year's Eve

Image from maxwellswaterloo.com
We didn't do anything really special to ring in the new year. Frankly, I was still a bit celebration weary from the holiday events with our family and Dean was reeling from a very busy few days at work. Having part of the afternoon off on New Year's Eve meant we could get some groceries, go to the gym, and make a trip to the bank. Pretty exciting stuff, I know. But really, it was good. As we sat at home on the couch right before midnight, watching television and eating jalapeno hummus, I heard that old, subtle, accusing voice telling me we should have made more elaborate plans, should have gone to a party or headed downtown, anything which would have yielded photos showing how hip and cool and happy we were. This low key evening was almost embarrassing, hardly worth a mention on social media, certainly nothing to emulate or envy. Or was it? We were content. We were thankful. We were tired but happy. And this seemed like a good way to spend an evening, even New Year's Eve.

There are times to plan and participate in elaborate celebrations because we want to honour someone or remember a significant event or just because we are alive. But honestly, I don't need any more hyped-up events added to my social calendar just because it is the thing to do. What I do need more of is the ability to walk faithfully through this life, doing the mundane tasks with joy and gratitude, and never tiring of the faces I see most regularly. Can I jump and dance and sing and celebrate even if it is not New Year's Eve? Do I need props like fancy food, sparkly dresses, liquor, loud music, large crowds, and pulsing lights to get me into celebration mode? I hope not. Let the celebration always be within me.

One of my spiritual disciplines is to have my first and last thoughts/words of the day be, "Thank you, God." This exercise invites me to live each day inside a gratitude sandwich. It postures me to start the day with a full and content heart instead of from a place of anxiety or need. And it allows me to see the events of the day as good gifts instead of through the lens of regret, jealousy, anger, or the black hole of depression. In effect, every day becomes its own unique mini celebration,

So let me re-word my opening sentence. We did something really special to ring in the new year. We celebrated living in a land of plenty by buying food. We celebrated being healthy and strong by going to the gym. We celebrated being able to give and receive generously by going to the bank. We celebrated the fruit of a long-standing friendship by enjoying an evening in each other's company, free from pressure or tension. I celebrated the beauty of language and story by reading a book. Dean celebrated the creative vibrancy of music by listening to new artists from the UK. We celebrated living in a place of peace by going to bed with no worries for our safety. And that's pretty special.

May 2015 be filled with many special days for us all!

P.S. One of the best things I read in the past few days on crossing the threshold into a new year is from Parker Palmer. Here it is for your reading pleasure: Questions to Live By

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

the movement of humility

We live in a context of stratification where much of society is ordered into separate layers or castes. We are identified as upper class, middle class, or lower class. Our language reflects this up/down (superior/inferior) paradigm. We want to be at the top of the heap, climb the ladder of success, break through the glass ceiling, be king of the hill. This same kind of thinking seeps into our theology. When we talk about humility, we think mostly think in terms of lowering ourselves, willfully participating in downward mobility. This type of up/down language is certainly present in biblical texts (James 4:10 is one example), but I believe that the kind of humility we see in Jesus requires that we step outside of a strictly up/down paradigm. Instead of viewing humility as getting down low or stepping down a notch on the ladder of society, perhaps it is more helpful to think in terms of proximity and movement.

Jesuit theologian, James Keenan, notes that virtues and vices are not really…

vertical theology

Much of the thinking and writing I have been doing for the past year or so, especially in academic settings, has to do with how hierarchy is embedded in our theology and ways of structuring communities. To me, that's not a g