Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It was a great year...

...thanks for being a part of it.

Yes, it seems everyone on Facebook is sharing about their 2014, mainly because Facebook has written code that compiles pictures and makes it really easy. In some cases, it has even caused some unintended heartache. But it's definitely the thing to do.

Well, while I'm not going to click the button for one of those automatic slideshows, there is some value in looking back over the last year. Life is short, and what happens to each of us in a given year has incredible significance. Sometimes good, sometimes bad...but definitely loaded with significance. So, as we come to the end of this year, what stands out about 2014 for me?

There were definitely events and activities that I will remember, both fondly and otherwise. Trips to other parts of the world, exciting sports events, a few days skiing, and a short trip to my favorite big city in the USA. Those were awesome, and they are are the kind of things we usually use to "bookmark" years. ("2014 - It was the year that I.......")

But there are four things about 2014 that make it a remarkable year for me. Two of them are events, and the other two were more of a pattern:

  • The graduation of my niece Brooke from nursing school at the University of Alabama. As watched her walk across the floor of Coleman Coliseum, I was so proud of her. It may be the moment from 2014 that stands out.
  • The engagement of another niece Macy, and watching her go through the preparations for the wedding. In a way it's hard to realize that these young adults whom I've loved for about 25 years are moving so fast into the world of work, marriage, and building of their own families. But any melancholy is overshadowed by happiness for them. Macy's wedding will certainly be on this list for 2015.
Now, the more subtle:
  • I have had such a good year of learning and growing in my knowledge of God and his purposes for the world. I read several outstanding books that expanded my view of salvation, the nature of the universe, and just how big and awesome God is. There has been a growing appreciation in the areas of the work of creation, God's ultimate plan for his kingdom, and my role in it. I am not looking up at the night sky the way I did a year ago. Books, videos, and long talks with friends have opened my eyes to a new sense of wonder.
  • And I have had a wonderful year of experiencing the sense of community that God has blessed us with. Regular time with family and close friends, visits to close friends who don't live so close, and developing deep friendships while serving in Ethiopia - I can't even put into words how much these things mean in my life. It's like they are sacraments - means of grace where God speaks to me and draws me closer to himself. I don't mean to put this on a level with the Eucharist. But it does seem to have a similar effect. Every time I get to bask in the glow of people who I know love me with the love of Christ, I am renewed. Even when I go through the struggles of life alongside others - helping and being helped, praying and being prayed for - I am renewed. There is no doubt, I have been blessed with a lot of renewal this year. Thankful.
Yes, to quote the Facebook phrase, it was a great year. One great year - just one. May God grant that I will sense his purpose in 2015, as I did this year.

Happy New Year!

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