Happy New Year’s Eve!
This is not a post that will scream about the last minute, or rush you to give, buy, do, support, or show up somewhere. Instead it is a post that looks back a little and forward a little. And we want to appreciate where we are right now.
When I ask my seminary students to interact with each other by responding to digital posts for class, I invite them to use the following statements to start their replies.
I notice… I appreciate… and I wonder…
Let’s use this framework to guide our reflections on this New Year’s Eve.
I asked the Three Minute Ministry Mentor Team to share what they notice, appreciate, and wonder about as we turned the calendar for 2023 to 2024. We would love to hear from you, too!
First, I notice that the holidays have been very challenging for many people in my orbit. How about you and yours?
I also notice many friends having moments of joy and connection nevertheless.
And I notice that the world is groaning in agony over war, and natural disasters, and human-made violence and traumas. I notice we all could take some of the precious resource of time and use it to connect and lean into joy. The wars will not likely end as a result. The disasters and traumas will still happen. We still need to grieve, and we need to find ways to be part of the reckoning and the healing. Friends, we will not have the energy or life or the purpose to do the big work of reckoning or healing, If we don’t take time for the little moments of both grief and joy.
Here is Adam DJ Brett‘s appreciation.
One of my favorite things that we did this year was the Longest Night Service. In my family, on winter solstice, there is an unofficial/official competition to be the first to call and recite Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The winner is the person who can recite the poem most accurately from memory.
Taking time with friends and colleagues for reflection, grieving, and intentionally cultivating a deep peace helps me feel grounded and ready for the holidays and the new year.
When I lived in Syracuse each winter, I would photograph this tree and send it to my family in Florida daily so they could get a sense of how winter was progressing. I miss the snow.
In 2023, we offered 47 episodes for Season 5 of 3MMM, and we also shared guest posts by Sandhya Jha and Kimberly Knowle-Zeller and Erin Stribus. This summer we shared a series about our favorite things. And just quick search of appreciation will lead you to many of this year’s weekly episodes. I appreciate the creativity, honesty, challenging questions, and simple joys of the people who shared their gifts and ideas with us this year!
Erin has some more appreciations for the conversations we shared in 2023.
Loved this honest conversation about grief and how we can name those difficult spaces even when the grief doesn’t fit one definition.
Julia Goldie Day gave us such a rich experience to journey through Advent and Christmas. Grateful for her artistry and her voice.
This one is worth saving, printing, tucking into your Bible, and taping onto your desk. The reminder that you are called, and your calling may not look like what some expect it to be.
Finally, let’s wonder together. I wonder what the new year will hold? What are you wondering about on this night as we turn the calendar page on a new year?
Here’s what Elizabeth-Anne is wondering… how to embrace the fullness of life.
I really enjoyed the series with Joyce Ann Mercer, and specifically Episode 185 about self-compassion. This is something I’ve always struggled with, and even more so now as a new mom. I appreciated the quote, “God and the Spirit of the Holy is waiting in each breath to fill us with a sense of belovedness. Our part is to practice self compassion for our griefs and our losses, and our suffering. Then they may come to coexist with joy and friendship, romance and family love. The fullness of life.”
Embracing the fullness of life is something I am working on daily, this was a helpful reminder that losses and suffering and friendship and love are all a part of life. I know I can’t accept this fullness of life without the practice of self-compassion
Notice, Appreciate, and Wonder
I appreciate the people and stories, events and resources that are helping us all to grieve right now. Human life and love is ever-laced with loss and grief. The last few years have been especially filled with profound and new kinds of loss. I appreciate when people take time to acknowledge that and make space for rituals and stories that help us all to acknowledge it. We try to offer that kind of space here in our weekly episodes, interviews, live events, and ongoing groups.
We will continue to make space to notice what ministers, academics, activists, chaplains, and writers are doing. And we appreciate connecting with each one of you. As we turn the page, we wonder what you need as you learn and cultivate your pastoral imagination for the ever-changing and seemingly impossible world? Let’s keep the conversation and support going, friends.