Christmas day has passed. The presents are opened and everyone in my family has some type of new clothing to wear. I have worked hard at maintaining our Christmas family traditions over the years. Of course they change some, as the family’s needs change.   One that I particularly enjoy, is finding (or making!) the time to shop with each of my sons. We roam through the stores and go out for lunch, and get caught up with each other. That is the best part. Having one-on-one time with our grown children is rare if not impossible. Everyone is so busy.

There was a lot of reminiscing going on at my house this year over the Christmas weekend. The antics of my sons’ childhoods were recounted with great joy and mischief. We raised our children in the lovely town of Mont Vernon New Hampshire. At our house in the backyard – just down the hill was a beaver pond which provided hours of childhood fun – ice skating in the winter and catching little red salamanders in the spring.
Purgatory Falls is another natural feature of the area, and we especially enjoyed taking nature walks to the Lower Falls.   It is beautiful there. The air near the waterfall feels cool and smells fresh. The sound of the water calms the soul with a sense of eternity. This year I decided to go there again and gather up some moss, ferns, and partridge berry plants to make terrariums for each of them for Christmas.   To me it was a gift that contained a living spirit of my son’s childhoods, since it came from where they grew up. It was fun to create these terrariums for them to take home!
When families come together for the Holidays, recalling the past is a common tradition.   This also happens a lot at the beginning of a new year. We look back at what we have experienced over the last twelve months with mixed emotions – there is joy and grief; frustration and hope. We may be glad to put the past year behind us, or we may be looking back and wishing we could go back in time. But time always moves forward and so do we.
A New Year brings us a new gift of time. It is a gift of days that have yet to be written.   It is a threshold of an unknown future, and as people of faith we trust that we do not walk into this unknown future alone. Our Lord goes with us. We recall God’s gifts to us through the words of the prophet Isaiah (40:31), “…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I pray you will remember that the Lord goes with you as you begin your journey into this New Year. Hold onto your traditions and the memories of your past, and also be ready to embrace the new things God is doing in your life. Oh, and don’t forget to spend time with those you love most, for they are your greatest gifts from God.
I wish you the best in the coming New Year!   May God continue to bless you!
Yours in Christ’s Service,
Reverend Linda C. Hey