It is New Year’s Day evening – Happy New Year, everyone. Put up with me as a picture of another sunset is posted. It is the first sunset of 2017. Yesterday’s rain clouds partially cleared as afternoon turned to evening – the sky becoming beautifully clear as the sun dropped below and in contrast to the horizon and the dark gray of the remaining clouds – the tinges of orange at the bottom of the clouds almost surreal. The sky was so clear there was the sense that you could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean if somehow the earth’s curve would get out of the way – a perfect evening sky for a new year’s beginning.
A week ago we celebrated Christmas Day with family in Grand Junction, CO. It was a wonderful day with lots of people and noise and laughter and commotion. Today in contrast, a week later, it is New Year’s Day 2017 – we are home – it is quiet and peaceful – just us – a wonderful day also. We worshipped with our church family this morning – class and worship service – the sermon was about a new year and purposefully setting goals with meaning; about living in a world where we are supposed to be, and understanding that our good makes a difference – it fit the day and it fit those things good we should have on our mind as we look forward on the first day of a new year.
We returned home from church services to a beef rib roast we had put in a marinade bag with oil and a little port and garlic and pepper and rosemary. I lit the propane smoker and turned the fire up as high as it would go and put hickory chips in the smoker trays and 2 hours later we enjoyed a feast fit for kings.
Regardless of our particular pessimism or optimism about the political changes which will occur in 2017 – in my circle of family and friends those feelings are more diverse than I’ve ever experienced – regardless of that, on a new year’s day when we are so blessed, there is reason for looking forward with a sense that the good we are already enjoying can be leveraged and managed to enable more good and happiness in our world. The ability to help spread good is more in our hands than in our leader’s hands. We can just keep counting and appreciating our own blessings, as we turn our vision outward – not hording or fencing those blessings in, but using them to serve common good. Maybe 2017 will be an especially important year for that – one where we look to our own caring and serving as the real source and hope for good for others.