Happy New Year! Wow, it’s been a tough couple of years, hasn’t it? I had thought that 2021 would be a great improvement over 2020, but it didn’t seem to quite measure up to my hopes.

Oh well. It’s done now, and we find ourselves on the threshold of a new year. May it be full of good things for all of us.

Speaking about a new year reminds me of my oldest son. One of the things that I have always loved about him is his capacity to embrace new beginnings. I remember especially moving from Oregon to Washington when he was in fifth grade. This boy was a bit of a nerd, and he found social interactions awkward.

Moving near the end of his elementary years was a challenge to be sure. However, I distinctly remember him looking at me and saying, “Mom, guess what? It’s a new beginning! No one knows how dumb I’ve acted in the past. I can have a brand new start.”

He lived up to that attitude, and in those first couple of years made lifelong friends, discovered a passion for band, and was able to finally find joy in his world. Now he teaches his own sons about new beginnings, helping them to embrace the changes in their lives as they come.

A favorite Bible passage of mine is found in the book of Isaiah. God says, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

And in the book of Revelation, Jesus proclaims, “I am making everything new!” The Lord of creation is always creating, always using the past challenges to shape us in new ways. I find great encouragement in that. Though I am pandemic-weary to be sure, I can know that Jesus is at work both in and around me, bringing renewal and hope.

Look at the picture of our friend, the heron. He is bolt upright, staring off in the distance with great intensity, ready to take flight at a moment’s notice.

He inspires me to adopt the same posture. As the new year begins, I can be ready for what is coming in the months ahead, looking for God’s handiwork with anticipation and joy, willing to soar with Him wherever He leads me.

Like my son, I can rejoice in another new beginning, leaving the past in the past so that I am not encumbered by the weight of it. I will walk forward into 2022 with hope and pray that you will do the same.

Pastor Mary Hendrickson is an ordained ECC minister serving the Covenant Church at Venice Isle Estates.


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