Happy New Year, from the Upside Down Podcast Crew!
If you’re like us, you celebrated the coming of 2017 with a combination of the extraordinary and the mundane. And no, I won’t be telling you who did what, although I will admit that there were tiny glitter hats and a live-viewing of The Mariah Incident involved in my NYE.
The turn from 2016 to 2017 feels like a big shift to me. One on hand, some great things happened personally in 2016. As I’ve reflected over the last year, I see God’s hand answering prayers, pushing us, waking us up to things we’ve been blind to, and working in our hearts to remind us that whatever we DO pours out of what we ARE - children of God.
But it’s also been a difficult year. Poverty, hunger, sickness, death - too much death. These things remind us that the world we live in now is not the way it’s meant to be.
At the beginning of December I spoke at a ministry event and I focused on Eve and Mary. There’s a print (seen here) that I discovered after falling in love with a Rain for Roots song called “Mary Consoles Eve.” Both are so beautiful - a picture of the beginning, the broken, and the healing that comes in Jesus. The chorus off the song says, “almost, not yet, already.”
By the way, co-host Shannon got the same image tattooed on her shoulder the week of the event. We hadn’t discussed it beforehand. That was a fun surprise!
In my talk, I mentioned that, in response to the brokenness that entered the world at the fall, a bunch of “alienations” happened: we see that we are alienated from God, he is alienated from us, we are alienated from each other, we are alienated from creation, and we are alienated from ourselves.
But God says he’ll put enmity between the serpent and humanity. God claims us again, saying “THEY ARE STILL MINE. (WE ARE STILL HIS!) It’s us against you, Satan, and I never lose.”
And then we get the promise of the rescuer. The deliverer. The King who came down! We are celebrating his birth at the beginning of this new year and we can take that out of our tree-lit living rooms and into the world.
Some of us are filling out goal-setting sheets, some are overwhelmed at schedules, some are picking words of the year and some are just trying to keep all the plates spinning. No matter how we're heading into 2017, let us be a people who’s understanding of the Good News of Jesus allows us to
Fight a lack of gratitude, understanding at our core that all we have is a gift to be stewarded.
Fight despair and cynicism, and see the God who gives hope.
Fight the blinders, and see a wider scope of the kingdom of God, who breaks down barriers to usher in a new day.
Fight the boredom, to find a God who is extraordinarily adventurous an calls you to be the same.
As we look back at the beginning of this podcast, we’re thankful for the ways you, our listeners, have encouraged and challenged us to do things things, and we look forward to stepping into this near year with you. Happy New Year!
With love from Asheville,