Focal verse

“And you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Reflection

Turning the calendar to a new year brings to mind a flurry of new ideas, new resolutions and new spiritual practices to try. Culture bombards us with all the ways to do x, y and z, and suggests new resources to make the year go well. Could we shift our focus from all the things we can and should be doing to all the things that God is already doing?

Let this be the year to see how God is transforming our lives right now. We don’t need to add more things to do or be this year. The truth that God bestows on us is already ours—we are loved children of God.

In our family with young children, we don’t ring in the new year together. Most likely, we’ll all be sleeping when the clock strikes midnight. While I’m not the most disciplined person in following through with resolutions or maintaining structure as a family, I long to do something to set the new year apart. I desire to take intentional time to thank God for the gift of our lives, health, family and friends. With our children, we can mark the new year together by saying a special prayer and asking God to help us nurture our faith, reach out to neighbors, and grow in love and compassion.

This year I’m not writing a list of goals or hopes. Instead, I’ll be sharing with my children all the things that God is already doing in our lives and writing them in a list. We’ll think of it as a love letter written by God to us.

Consider this your invitation to take time to remember your identity in Christ and give thanks to God. Remind your children, and yourself, that you don’t have to do anything different this year. God loves you dearly just as you are.

Practices

  • Write a note from God to you and your family. Through it, share what you love about one another and how much God loves each of you.
  • Pick a Scripture verse to memorize that reminds everyone of their belovedness. Some examples include Colossians 3:12, Psalm 139:13-14 or Ephesians 2:10.

Prayers

We pray for letter writers and words that connect us to others.
We pray for those who set goals and offer themselves grace when plans change.
We pray for Christian education leaders who teach and inspire faith.
We give thanks for all who deliver mail and packages.
We give thanks for those celebrating baptisms.
We give thanks for the light of Christ.

Amen.

Service opportunity 

Connect with your synod’s designated global companion. As a family, research their country, learning about the culture and people. See if there’s a way to connect with your neighbors across the world through writing letters or making donations.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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