It’s been such an exciting and busy first three months for me at KPC that I can hardly believe I’m already about to head out on my first vacation. Cindy and I are flying to Los Angeles to visit my daughter Rachel, and my other daughter Rebekah will be joining us along with my sister and her family. We’re looking forward to fun and frolic! It will be a great way to ring in the new year, and I’ll be back in the office on January 2.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone and having Christmas at KPC. It has been busy and stressful, but for me, it has been good stress—did you know there’s a psychological term for good stress? Eustress is beneficial, and distress—well, we all know that. Someone commented at a meeting the other day that they noticed a common thread of Stress in my sermons, and that’s right—because I’ve been hearing it from many people, especially in December. In fact, I read the other day in a blog that PTSD sometimes pops up around three or seven years after a precipitating event. I wasn’t able to confirm that factoid anywhere online, but if it’s true, it would make sense that 2023 was a year when our psyches were full up with the wrong flavor of stress, three years after the beginning of the pandemic.
Just as Jesus came to turn religion upside-down and offer a new paradigm of salvation based on faith and love instead of earned righteousness (talk about stress-inducing!), I’d love to flip our 2023 distress to 2024 eustress, noting that the three-year cycle is ending! Sure, we will face challenges in the next year; that never changes as the years fly by. But we will face them together with faith, hope, and love, undergirded with the Spirit of Christ in whom all things are possible. There’s a renewed Spirit of hope and excitement at KPC (did you see all the children and parents at the delightful Christmas pageant?), attendance is up, and after years of transition, it’s time for some stability that propels us onward and upward.
During the month of January, our worship will be a series based on Micah 6, What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. This is what we can give to 2024: a Spirit of Christ-incarnation in all we do, and I promise it will create for us the New Year we’re all praying for.
Have a blessed, prayerful, peaceful New Year, full of much eustress, and minimal distress!
Love and light,