It was a crazy December. My car, a wonderful old clunker that had been milking us for repairs, suddenly needed a major repair. Instead of going forward with that, we replaced it. Our cell phones, which we had managed to maintain long past their renewal date (since the renewal came with additional fees) were finally winding down and shutting off. We had to replace them. And, the hard drive on my new computer suddenly and unexpectedly died, destroying important data as it did so. (This one, fortunately, was covered by the warranty. But I am still recreating things like church-wide email lists. Let me know if you want to be on our regular update list, our PrayerNet, or the e-Newsletter.) Cars, phones, and computers are such a big part of our daily lives, and all three of them were out of commission at the same time.
At the beginning of Advent, our "Ready for Redemption" theme was "Alarm". We gathered alarm clocks. We were urged by the text to "wake up" to the presence of God in Jesus Christ, to celebrate the signs that God is with us. I found that as I focused on God’s gift, the inconvenience of our situation did not dominate my days. I had one of the best Advent and Christmas seasons I have had in a long time – in terms of the health of my soul – because I chose to focus on what God was up to in my life and in our life together.
I owe thanks to everyone who helped me navigate the season without my typical tools – especially Carolyn and Robin. Beyond that, I want to thank each of you for your flexibility and humor, for our ministry partnership in this season, for the hospitality shown to countless guests who discovered Emmanuel, "God with us" as they were among us. And, I want to thank you for your big hearts for God’s mission in our community and world, through the baby shower for Jesus, the Christmas gifts for our Emergency Relief Fund and for the United Methodist Home for Children, support of the northeast in hurricane recovery, creating and putting up Christmas decorations at the Youth Development Center, and caroling for many of our home bound and the neighborhood around our building. It is such a privilege to be partners in the gospel with you! I am looking forward to a fantastic 2013!