Sacred start

Photos by Wendy McFadden and Bethany Clark.

Photos by Wendy McFadden and Bethany Clark.

By Mandy Garcia

The doctors removed a small bone in the ball of my foot two weeks before Christmas. It was a scheduled, outpatient surgery, but knowing it was coming didn’t make the recovery any less frustrating. Being stuck at home for several weeks put an abrupt halt on my normal schedule and to-do list.

But a few days before the celebration of Christ’s birth, I finally realized that I had been given the Christmas gift I’ve always said I wanted: time to simply sit and savor the season.

It’s probably sad that I finally got my wish because I had no choice, but the fact remains that it was a very special time. I stayed still. I stared at the star on top of our tree and considered God’s leading. I wrapped myself in crocheted blankets and gave thanks for warmth. I watched my neighborhood get tucked in under a thick, white blanket, and praised God for forgiveness that covers sins with mercies white as snow. It was an “in between” time, a sacred space.

In a similar way, January can be an “in between” time for all of us—Church of the Brethren denominational ministries included. We wrap up the loose ends of the past year and get ready to dive into all the exciting things coming up in the new one. National Youth Conference coordinators and the workcamp team stay late at the office for their long awaited registration kick-offs. The Annual Conference office assembles necessities for their site visit in Columbus. And church planters (who seem to have a gift for “in-between” time) get their things in order before the Church Planting Conference in May.

This time before the gears get really moving can feel a little like being stuck at home with a broken foot. But if we frame it right, if we focus on the many wonderful things on the horizon, it takes on a feeling of holy preparation. Like the quiet calm of Christmas, this time can be a gift, sacred space, full of thanks and praise.

As we prepare to dive into this New Year, may we spend our “in between” time watching carefully for God’s leading, full of gratitude, and freely giving as God has so freely given to us.

For a list of ways that you can get involved in Church of the Brethren ministries in 2014, visitwww.brethren.org/events ,www.brethren.org/volunteer , andwww.brethren.org/give .

(Read this issue of eBrethren)

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