Don’t let 2020 stink

Don’t let 2020 stink

Have a holly jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year! So the song goes, and so it often is the case. But this year certainly is different. There’s nothing normal about Christmas this time around. How many of us have just a few less family members at the table, even if just as a precaution? How many of us don’t have quite as many presents under the tree? A little less ho ho ho to go around? I’m not trying to be a downer, but it’s worth putting a finger on what many may be experiencing. We may be tempted to put a smile on and soldier through, but I think that would be wrong.

I’m reminded of my washing machine. We have a side-loading washer that has a rubber gasket around the opening. Every time we do a load of laundry, a little bit of water can pool up inside the lip of this rubber gasket. If we close the door of the machine when we’re done with the load, over time that little bit of water will start a mold colony, and the washing machine will start to stink. The simple solution is just to keep the door open after we do a load of laundry. What does it need? Air and light.

Many, many things in life are like my washing machine (I know that sounds absurd, but stick with me). We want to close the door on things, keep them in the dark. It can just seem easier to not name what we’re feeling or acknowledge how hard things might be, better just to say the right platitudes, put on the good face, and hope things are different. What results from that approach is a kind of spiritual mold. When fear or anger, or even just plain old sadness, doesn’t get time in the air and light, it can fester and begin to stink.

That’s no way to live, and more importantly, it’s not how Jesus teaches us to live. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the mess, in fact, he seemed to make a beeline for it wherever he saw it. So, before we close the book on 2020 we’re going to take a moment to bring the mess this year may have brought to us into the air and light, and let Jesus take care of it. And before you say, “I don’t need to do that,” consider for a moment if someone you know does. And consider if they need you to do it with them. Even if 2020 hasn’t been a down year for you, coming to church this weekend may mean you get to be a comforting presence to someone who simply needs to be with others. Invite someone to close the year well with you this weekend.

Pastor Larry Hackman

PS.—If 2020 was a dud, 2021 is looking up, even if only for the exciting possibility that we will be celebrating paying down our mortgage on January 3! Your response to our challenge to go Beyond These Walls has been incredible, and we are so close to finishing up. Every single gift at this point might be the one that pushes us over the finish line. I hope you join us on January 3 to hear the final report, and hopefully many other surprises that day!