First Notes – December 2017

Two weeks into my return from sabbatical leave, I believe I’m caught up on all of the loose ends!  I am pleased to report that I was able to finish what I set out to do at the beginning of October:  put 16 songs to the Jonah musical into a final draft form.  Dialogue still needs to be finished and there’s another song that I discovered needs to be written to fill in a gap, but the project has definitely moved forward.  I appreciate your thought and prayers during the time I was away.  It was a busy, productive time.

As we look forward, we will be entering the busy days of Advent and Christmastide.  We will get as late of a start on Advent as is possible to get this year:  December 3rd.  However, that distinction doesn’t mean much.  The secular world has been ramping up Christmas ever since Halloween was finished.  The hype and the noise will be at fever pitch by the time you receive your newsletter.

I personally find noise and the hype—as well as the hectic pacing of the days—to be something that I tolerate less and less well as time goes on.  And as time goes on I have started to dream a dream for a different kind of December.  Perhaps it’s unrealistic, but I dream of a December that isn’t so much a time to prepare for Christmas celebrations but is a time to prepare for the coming of God’s Reign into my life and into the world.  I dream of a December where the pace is slow enough to allow for moments of reflection, moments for the expression of genuine friendship and hospitality, and moments of genuine joy.  I dream of a December that is marked by simplicity instead of complexity.  I dream of a December where acts of mercy, kindness, and justice are common and not rare in this world.

What kind of December do you dream of?  Is it a time where the things of God’s Reign take priority or is it a time when those things take a backseat?  May this December be a time for all of us to pursue those dreams which draws us closer to God’s plan for us and this world.

Your servant in Christ,

Rev. Jim Hoppert

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