Perhaps a little-known fact about me is that I take the transition time between years very seriously. You might even call me superstitious. On New Year’s Eve, you won’t find me at a party. You’ll find me cleaning the house, sweeping out all of the old so the new can come in. Clean sheets, clean fridge, clean house, clean car. I think about what I want to accomplish in the new year and what from the previous year needs to be allowed to end with it. I also take time to rejoice over all of the wonderful things that transpired, especially with the girls. We eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day and we begin anew. All of this is really about the fact that, each January 1, I begin the new year with hopefulness and end the year on December 31 with gratitude.
As Epiphany begins with each new calendar year, I am struck by how rapidly we move through the early years of Jesus’ life, and yet I am reminded at how quickly time passes. In a blink of an eye, another year has passed us by, and often we are caught up in the waves of work, volunteer commitments, and household chores. As Ferris Bueller so eloquently put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The Gospel lessons each week of Epiphany feel like these moments when we stop and look around at Jesus growing into himself, and it’s a great reminder for us to stop and look around at how we are growing into the beautiful person God dreamed up for us in our creation.
It’s easy to get busy and miss the simple things for which we can give thanks. That’s why this year I am recommitting to being better at being present. The last year has been really busy with all sorts of wonderful things, but it means that my being busy has become an excuse for not doing all of those things that I know are good and holy. I’m guessing we all have times like this in our lives, and the changing of one year to another is a great time to re-center, refocus, and recommit. While the weeks of Epiphany remind us of how fast time goes, may we also find ways to press pause and not miss life unfolding around us. We can give thanks for longer days, warmer weather, and spring on the horizon, while still being present to the joy of an early spring snowstorm.
Here are UTO, we have a lot to be grateful for in 2018, and we can’t wait to share that with you as we begin to compile our second annual report. We also have so much that we are looking forward to doing in 2019. It’s going to be a busy year for UTO. So, in spite of beginning a new year and a new chance to commit to our faith, to advocacy, and to gratitude, we’re going to pause and catch our breath, look around, and not miss the good things unfolding all around us that are just waiting for us to notice, give thanks for, and rejoice over. As always, I’m thankful for all of you, for your commitment to practicing gratitude and for holding me accountable to mine. I’m grateful for every thank offering placed in the care of the UTO Board, and for all of the blessings those thank offerings will bestow upon the world around us. Thank you.