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Trees of green, red roses too

by davesandel on January 1st, 2017

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Trees of green, red roses too

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Seventh Day of Christmas and New Year’s Day

Numbers 6:23-26

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  The Lord lift up his countenance on you, and give you his peace.

After the fear comes the blessing.  After the panic comes the peace.  After the losing of control comes surrender to God’s sure touch.  His hands hold me fast.

I notice that 2017 resolves into 1 …

2+0+1+7=10, 1+0=1.

20+17=37, 3+7=10, 1+0=1.

201+7=208, 2+0+8=10, 1+0=1.

2+17=19, 1+9=10, 1+0=1.  Well.

This is the first year of the rest of our lives.  Andi’s close, close friend Jacodien leaves Austin next week to return with her family to the Netherlands, after several years here.  On Friday Andi traveled around town with them one last time, photographing their family in beloved places.  In one photo Peter and Jacodien are sitting on a rock leaning over to kiss each other, while their four young kiddos sit in front of them in a precarious, short-lived row.

Six children of God prepare to meet a new world.  Andi and her friend grieve and hope and want the best for each other.  A photo book Andi made for their family was out at their going-away party, and many friends signed the book.  Like a yearbook in high school.  A little holding on, a lot of letting go.

What does this year hold for you and your loved ones, and all the children God holds so dear?  So many children will be born.  Miles was just an idea on the first day of 2016, and look at him now.

Lots of us will also die, like Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds just now at the end of this year.  Say goodbye.  Hello.  Goodbye.  Hello.  Surely the Beatles wrote their song on the first day of a singular year sometime: “I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello … Hello hello

Their song ends in the gobbledy-gook of two words merged and mixed and brought together.  Our lives merge and mix like that, and we do well to receive God’s blessing, and God’s loving look, and God’s touch, and God’s peace in all the new and all the old.  This is such a wonderful world.

So often we don’t care well for what we touch, and things fall apart for a little while.  That is not the way God made it, and that is not the way we stay.  God brings us back and back and back again with his blessing, with his hands on our heads, holding us close.  Never going away, lo.  I am with you always.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.  Let your way be known on all the earth, may the nations be glad.  Guide us in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.  We want to praise you all together in one strong voice, Lord.  Give us courage to sustain the notes you have given each of us in this choir of love.

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