For the children who brought joy to our Christmas Eve worship - thank you 2016!!The overriding sentiment for most folks at the close of 2016 seems to be that it cannot come to an end fast enough – good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out! Believe me, I get it, but I can't let this year end without adding some gratitude to the epilogue. Sure, I am more than bummed by the string of celebrities gone to soon, making my all too aware of my own mortality. I grieve the loss of family and friends, the increasing diagnosis of cancer and other tragedies that caused me to “hug my children tighter” in 2016 (if only a hug could protect them).
It goes without saying that state of the nation and the world both seem to have reached tragically unprecedented levels of history repeating itself. And yet, I think of my two cousins (and countless others) whose birthdays happen to fall on September 11, and realize what a shame it would be to let 2016 be remembered only for the tragedies, and to allow these losses to overshadow the many reasons to celebrate and be thankful for 2016.
So for all the babies born in 2016, and the families that have grown through marriage, adoption and reunion, I give thanks. May you continue to grow in love and good health.
For the success stories: Simon Biles, the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team, and all of this year's Olympic Champions, as well as the unsung heroes working in medical research and finding cures; for those who seek to keep the peace and protect the public – thank you for your incredible dedication, grace under pressure, determination and inspiration.
Thank you to all the artists – for the creation of new music, and for being able to enjoy in person and via internet the plays, concerts and performances by many talented family and friends – may you continue to tell the stories with song and beauty.
For the church, for my congregation, our Presbytery, and the many Presbyterian youth and leaders I have been able to connect with in 2016 at Triennium, Urban Plunge, and for my colleagues in ministry - what a year to make us all thankful for what being church is all about!
For another year of having a roof over my head, a car that runs, and a reasonably sound mind and body, I say thanks be to God.
Thank you to my family and friends for relationships that have been particularly strengthened despite distance, and for new relationships that have helped ease the transition of our move.
For the infinite reasons I have and I hope that we all have to go into the coming year with hope, and for the inspiration to keep seeking and witnessing to God's presence in the world, for overcoming impossibilities, and continuing to create new life, even amidst all those things we want to leave behind, may we all say thanks be to God. Go in peace, 2016!