I am writing this in my dark living room enjoying a quiet night with the soft glow from the Christmas tree lights. My husband actually put our tree up this year and I have loved looking to see where he put my favorite ornaments. I have several but one of the gems for me is a stack of pancakes. It’s right in the front about halfway from the top and every time I look at the tree, I can’t help but see it first.
I bought it a few years ago because it takes me back to some very cherished memories. When our kids were growing up, we spent many family vacations camping. One of our annual traditions was camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness with our small group families. Even long after our group stopped meeting regularly, we still camped together once a year.
Camping is bike rides, camp fires, late nights, pancakes, bacon, homemade donuts and chili. We played kick ball with all the kids, roasted marshmallows, ran 1/2 marathons, worked puzzles and played games. But mostly, we talked. We spent time catching up with each other like we couldn’t do when we were attached to life and work at home. We challenged each other and prayed for each other. Those were the best days.
As I reflect on 2016 and anticipate 2017, one thing I’m reminded of is that I can appreciate the past and the relationships formed there but I can’t live there today. I can appreciate traditions and memories but if I try to hold on too tight to those traditions and memories, I will miss the new ones waiting to be formed.
I’ve taken a few mornings this week to think about what I want for 2017, what I am asking God for in the New Year. I want to focus on the present and what God is doing today. I want to do hard things, the things I’ve been putting off, the things that scare me. I want to take time to talk to people when the moment arises, I want to be flexible. I want to connect with people like I did in those best days sitting around the camp site. I want more best days.
Reminiscing about those favorite memories has been so good for me this Christmas. I find they are pointing me to all the possibilities ahead. What are you looking forward to in 2017?
“Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”