LOOKING AHEAD

By Pastor Wes Poole

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”  NRSV

…and it may seem as though our favorite festive season has blown right by us yet another year. As I write this, Christmas is three days away. Soon the Christmas Trees will, for the most part, be taken down; the ornaments and decorations stored for the year. The bright paper and ribbons will have made their way to the trash. The kids’ toys will likely already be half broken and all we’ll have to look forward to is the “boring” month of January and holiday bills coming due! “So, what’s your problem, pastor!?!” you might say.  “Are you trying to induce early post holiday depression!?!?”

No, I’m really not trying to depress anyone. I’m just recounting a common attitude that is prevalent during the post holiday months. It can seem almost like we have been let down; that the “high” of Advent and Christmas has simply been replaced by the same tired old routine of life. Well, it’s true that we can’t live at Christmas all of the time. Even the celebration of Christmas itself has had to be adjusted this year for the realities of the pandemic. Nevertheless, regardless of how they are experienced, all of life’s mountaintop experiences must end so we can put those experiences to good use. Advent and Christmas are no different. Through the celebration of our Lord’s Incarnation among us as a little child, we are put in a better position to face the coming year with the confidence and determination that comes from hearing that transcendent Good News. Accordingly, there is still work to be done! “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (That verse may well be one of the most useful in scripture!!!) The post holiday months need not be seen as uninteresting or lackluster. God has given us ministry to do and lives to live!  Our Lord is still calling to us all to place our very selves in His care and to continue the work He started with a baby in a manger so many centuries ago. There’s no time for boredom! The Lord and His Holy Church have need of us! As we approach the end of this admittedly difficult year and ponder the one ahead, I pray that we not lose sight of the ministry to which God called us. If you see your neighbor in need, and can help, please do so! If your financial situation permits, I would also ask that you remember your Good Shepherd family as well, as it has been a financially challenging time for the church at all levels. Regardless, God, in Jesus Christ has promised to be with us always; helping us through the “lows” of life and rejoicing with us in our successes. Is Christmas over all too soon? Well maybe, but there is plenty to keep us busy in the coming year. Let us strive to meet the opportunities God places before us with open hands and willing hearts.

May the power of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit invigorate us and comfort us as we rise to answer God’s invitation to service.

Let us pray…

God of Joy and Light, we come to you during this blessed season to ask that you fan the flames of our faith and help us recommit to the challenges of the coming year. We know that through easy or difficult times, you never leave us alone to our own devices. Help us always to take the Light you bring and shine it into the dark places; bringing hope and peace wherever it is needed. We also raise up to you prayers for health, healing, and continued hope in the New Year. We pray these things in the Name of Jesus, God Incarnate. Amen.

Be well, be kind, and be safe.

Blessings Always,

Pastor Wes †

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