Merry Christmas and Wrapping up 2016
Every year is different than we expect. That’s part of what makes life so exciting and surprising but also so heart-breaking and challenging at times. For me and my family, 2016 was no different.
The year kicked off with some amazing opportunities, including the chance to spend time with Rob Bell (which led to my podcast with him) and a trip to the Holy Land (which inspired a couple worship resources). January also brought news of a completely out-of-the-blue cancer diagnosis in my close family. While things on that front are going as well as could be expected considering the seriousness of the diagnosis, it has still been a difficult experience for all of us to wrap our heads around. No doubt you had highs and lows this year too.
Whenever you make something, design something, write something, record something, preach something, and you put it out in the world, you want it to be successful. You want it to make a difference. You want it to help people. And sometimes, the things you labor over barely make waves, while other things are surprisingly helpful to others. At the bottom of this post is a list of the top 5 blog entries published in 2016. I would not have guessed on January 1, 2016, that my two posts about Ash Wednesday would be on that list! No doubt you had sermons or events or projects like that this year as well.
And, of course, no matter where you live in the world (Hello, international readers! I see you in my Google Analytics!), the 2016 US presidential campaign put a strain on all sorts of relationships. I know that I have said, posted, and thought things that harmed my connections with others. Especially on social media, I have seen the heated emotions around the election seep into other areas and influence other discussions. As things cool down, I pray that we take the time to reflect, repent where necessary, and repair any relationships that may have been damaged in 2016.
As we approach Christmas and wrap up the year, I wanted to share a song that has meant a lot to me lately called “Faithful Till the End.” One of the through-lines of Scripture is God’s faithfulness. And one of the repeated “genres” within the Bible is the call to remember God’s faithfulness. Certainly, the birth of Christ is something worth celebrating every year, and Advent is a great time of preparation, but we should remember that we are not preparing for the birth—that already happened. Through the proper celebration of Advent and celebration of Christ’s birth, we are reminding ourselves every year that God is with us and that Christ is coming again. No matter what the year held for you—joys and sorrows, successes and failures—God was, is, and will be faithful until the end.
I will sing of all you’ve done
I’ll remember how far you’ve carried me
From beginning until the end
You are faithful, faithful ’till the end
There wasn’t a day that you weren’t by side
There wasn’t a day that you let me fall
And all of my life your love has been true
And with all of my life I will worship you
I pray that you, your families, and your ministries have a blessed Christmas. May you remember God’s faithfulness, and may you proclaim that faithfulness to a world that so desperately needs to hear it.
This site will be on Christmas break through the end of the year. If you’re really needing something to read, below are the top 5 posts published in 2016. You can also listen to episodes of “Art of the Sermon” through the archive. No matter what you do, get some rest—you deserve it.
Like all creative endeavors, some of the ministry I do through this site will shift and change in 2017. I am so grateful for your support this year, and I look forward to the exciting new things we will do together next year.