Happy New Year! I hope that the start to this new year and new decade for that matter has been a peaceful and a relaxing one. Like our various Christmas and holiday traditions, celebrating the New Year comes with its own wide mix of fun and exciting traditions. For myself and my family, it never quite feels like New Year’s Eve without at least some ‘TV Snack,’ (essentially a homemade version of Chex Mix) and Canfield’s 50/50; a refreshingly tart, citrus soda similar to Squirt.

There are of course the things in which we try our best to keep the same, but I remain thankful for what has stretched me, and I am thankful for new experiences too. And for that I thank all of you! You all pushed your boundaries this past Sunday as we did a bit of a hands-on Sermon experience. We heard in our gospel story about the power of dreams, and the promise of the future they hold. I had asked you all to write down how you see God’s blessings in your lives, and for what prayers you needed as we ventured forth into the new year.

Let me say, dear friends, it has been inspiring and uplifting; powerful and moving, to bear witness to your many and varied blessings, and then to hold and lift up your prayers to God. Thank you for taking part in the beginning of our Blessing Box Ministry. Come Sunday, the box will be in the fellowship hall and will be available to participate again. There will be slips of paper for you to write down both your blessings and your prayer requests and I will continue to give praise for your blessings and lift up in prayer along with you, your requests.

I wanted to share with you some of our collective blessings and prayers for it truly was an honor to carry them this week. Overwhelmingly we were blessed with families, spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, and friends who love, cherish and support us. We celebrated relationships and marriages that were on the cusp of beginning to those entering their 49th year! We are blessed with freedom from the material things that weigh us down and the illnesses that wreak havoc on our bodies. And we are immensely blessed with the gift of life and leadership; new life in birth, new life found in leaders in this community and new life found in new direction.

And as we join together in prayer, we pray for many of the similar things. We pray that these blessings will continue, that we will strengthen the ties and bonds we have with our friends and our families both near and far. We prayed that we will have our eyes opened to know and to see that God is a part of our daily lives. Of course, there were as well the prayers that are too heavy for words to carry. But as these are the things for which we pray, it become even more clear to me that through each and every one of you, LCM every day provides a voice of hope and literal help both near and far. All of you are both a blessing and a prayer. We have an exciting 2020 ahead of us! I continue to pray for the blessings that you all are and continue to be!

God’s Peace & New Year’s Blessings,

Pastor Dave Elliott