Stretched. Broken. Hopeful. 2020 has indeed proved to stretch us all beyond our limits. Yet, we continue with one foot in front of the other. Is there any other way?

It’s a Wonderful Life was on the other night and I was struck by the scene when George Bailey heads up the stairs and the knob on top of the newel post comes loose in his hand. He becomes angry at how broken the entire system is and the loose knob is just a reminder of how broken and fragile life truly is. It is easier to cover all this brokenness up in a bad vibrato of forced joy rather than recognize and sit among the brokenness. I encourage you to not force dreams – either your dreams or other’s dreams – but rather live life. Even if this season is not dreamy, live it and engage the brokenness. We are all human beings struggling to create meaning and purpose in a year filled with shit and no toilet paper. We are human beings that have headed up the proverbial flight of stairs with each floor adding a new broken knob to our collection to be held and juggled as life unfolded in COVID-19 fashion. This year was messy, and no vaccine will inoculate life from being messy.

George Baily, after heading up his own set of stairs, said this:

– “…It’s this old house. I don’t know why we all don’t have pneumonia. Drafty old barn! Might as well be living in a refrigerator… Why do we have to live here in the first place, and stay around this measly, crummy old town…”

It’s not the house. It’s not COVID. It’s not the anti-science conspiracy nut jobs. It’s the lack of…the lack of relationships that have made this year hard. The mess has changed. It has become more personal in sorts, while becoming less personal in other ways. We all have had to deal with the demons placed in our lives, and it has been difficult to slay them because our people are not there to journey and fight alongside us. We are alone. But we continue because we understand there is value in the struggle. A broken knob is better than no knob! And that is what the Ljs have learned in 2020…relationships are everything!

Nadia Bolt-Weber, an unorthodox Lutheran minister, writes these words concerning relationship and community:

“Jesus does not just cure people’s diseases and cast out their demons and then say, “Mission accomplished.” He’s always after something more than that because the healing is never fully accomplished until there is a restoration to community.”

May we all enter 2021 holding on to the community we have and making a point to have relationship with that community. 2021 will be different than what we expect, so let the expectations die and the community live. Together we will put one foot in front of the other…and in doing so, our family hopes to walk your way in 2021!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Ljs!

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