The other morning I read a lovely year in review note from a friend. Years ago he’d moved back to his home in Wales, where he now runs a bed and breakfast on the coast. It wasn’t one of those activity reports that updates the reader on who got married, where everyone is in school, or what recent trips were taken. It was a bit more personal. The major events of the year were still there, of course – the loss of his mother, his brother-in-law’s wedding. But there was a sense of grace throughout it all. It felt more like a reflection than a report.
This is the time for year-end reviews. Best songs of the year. Best sports highlights. New word of the year. Celebrities gone from us. Obviously, it’s easier to look back than to look ahead. We can tell where we’ve been, but none of us really knows where the coming year will take us. That remains beyond our sight.
I have events on my calendar already – Hannah’s graduation from college, a wedding at the end of May (Alex Salter’s, not Hannah’s!), a conference or two. I know when Lent begins (Ash Wednesday, March 5) and when Easter will be (April 20). I can create an outline for the year, and fill it with all kinds of events, but I really have no idea what they will mean. It’s a true mystery – a story which won’t let us skip ahead and read the last page.
In the weeks to come, I look forward to a number of good things. We will (finally!) break ground on Phase One of our campus update and new facilities. All of the work will take place on the southwest side of the sanctuary (toward Country Day School). We have received the necessary approvals and permits, and we are working with Del Amo Construction to determine the actual start date. It will be a bit messy over there, but the end result will be worth it. We will achieve about 15 additional parking spaces, a better handicapped ramp, and a larger choir room not only helpful to the music program but making possible a range of other groups and classes.
I can’t help but wonder what the new year will bring. I know enough about it to be glad and hopeful. But I really don’t know what’s coming, or what it will mean when it gets here. I know that the same grace will be present in what’s to come as in what has been. For that I give thanks, knowing that God will be with us as we go.