Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

Once again we are at the time when people stress about the presents, the stockings, and travel plans. And once again I wonder if people are spending as much time stressing about the presence which is the forefront of this thing called Christmas. As I celebrate the inbreaking of our Savior, it is also the time of year when I begin my annual reflection. What are the highlights and not so highlights of my journey this year. The overall summation is that it has been a difficult and wonderful year all at the same time. God is revealing the fruit of ministry here in Cortland, however it comes with a sacrifice. Even with struggles there is much to celebrate this year.

The year started out with walking with my mom as she beat cancer. That's right I said beat. The power of Christ, and the body of Christ in prayer coupled with surgery and follow up treatments, were no match. My mom proved to be a valiant fighter the whole way. A byproduct of the time with mom was also some extended time with my brother, including the three of us going to take in a game at Fenway. Quickly it was the celebration of Easter, and the refreshing of the summer. There was a great, but quick, family trip to Cleveland. Time with my girls at the zoo and science center were great. Once the calendar turned to September plans were in full swing for the trip to Haiti. October brought the trip to Haiti, as nine others joined in in watching God at work through the amazing people there. All along watching God develop the Cortland UMC into more and more of what He desires.

All the events and actions of ministry were and are wonderful and a blessing. However the relationships of my life continue to be the most rewarding. To the guys, Bill Mudge, BJ Norrix, and Alan Howe, I am not sure why you put up with me but glad you do. I know I would have given up many times without your support and care. To my extended family, thanks for your understanding and grace as my schedule messes up your chances to see Sarah and the girls. To my baby girls, Rachel, Leah and Hannah, I am so blessed to be called your dad. You make the effort worth it, Love you. To my wonderful bride. I am not sure most people know how much you sacrifice for the sake of the ministry. Sarah, I could not do this without you and I don't even want to try. I know the sign does not say it, and that the Methodist Church does not recognize it, you truly are the co-pastor of Cortland UMC. I still remember your sister singing Grow Old With Me at our wedding, that was the plan then and it is the plan now. Your stuck with me. Finally my God. You have continued to mess with my life and heart this year. Growing me into places and situation I either did not want to be in, or had no experience of. Thank you. I have so much to learn about you and about who you are shaping me to be. If all of it was taken away, I would cling to you no matter what.

As I close this most likely last entry of the year I have some questions for you the readers. First, should I continue to blog? This year I did not write as much, not for lack of things to say simple time choices. Second, what topics, issues or ideas would you like to read about? Please take a few moments to comment back. My human weakness seeks to know if what I am doing is being engaged, or is just more noise in the cluttered inbox of our worlds.

May you know the grace and peace of God in deeper and deeper ways. May you experience the inbreaking of God this Christmas. May you realize the gift is not Jesus, but you are the gift to him. May you know how blessed you are.

Grace and Peace