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Dear friends,

If you’ve been to any store lately you know the holidays are almost upon us!  For many of us this is a time of moving into overdrive as we plan meals, shopping trips, holiday parties, and family pictures.  Andy
Williams will be heard singing in the background, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Sure, Andy. Maybe for you, but for others it’s a lot of stress and work.

Many people strive for the perfect tribute to family traditions but time marches on and traditions are not so easy to keep from year to year.   Gil Rendle writes, “Nostalgia carries the temptation to work harder at what we already know how to do in order to recapture a time and strength that no longer exists. Nostalgia does not ask us how to be different for the future.”  And, as you know, the future is always here.

This Sunday in church we will again close another liturgical year.  The Christian church does not follow the traditional Gregorian calendar, January to December, but instead begins with Advent and ends with Christ the King Sunday, which is found in Ordinary Time. (I’ve added a picture of this calendar for your information.) According to Google, the purveyor of all internet knowledge, a recent estimate indicates there are about forty calendars used in the world today, particularly for determining religious dates.

Both in our Gregorian and Liturgical calendars the days of celebrations are not static but move through lunar cycles.  Some years Advent and Easter seem to be earlier than others.  Likewise, our stories from the Bible are not meant to be static; they are intended to change with new understanding based on our Christian growth.  Of course, we are called listen and understand where God has been, but more importantly we should be hearing the familiar words with anticipation of where God is leading us. And this can be disorienting when we long for the familiar, yet the Spirit of God encourages forward movement.

This week we will be meditating on Luke 1:68-79, Zechariah’s prophecy. We will also give thanks to God as we enter the week of Thanksgiving.  Together we will explore traditions and advances in our Christian lives as presented through scripture.  I look forward to seeing you as we both embrace and reject Robert Burns’ famous words, “For auld lang syne”, loosely translated as “for the sake of old times”.

Peace, Jeri