Pastor Meredith Harber

Pastor Meredith Harber

Minister’s message: Shining inner glow of love and life in depths of winter

“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

It always happens this time of year when the cold and darkness seem to take over and my skin feels a bit paler. I show a few more wrinkles each year, creases around my eyes, that one weird wrinkle in the middle of my eyebrows, even the lines down the sides of my mouth. It almost seems like I age overnight, once the Christmas trees come down and the sparkle of the holiday season fades.

If you’re local, you know that it’s been a tough year or so of weather for us since the summer was particularly rainy. Then again, we’re always talking about the weather, aren’t we? We talk about the memories of weather in years past—bigger snow years, better summer sunshine, the perfect combination of seasons to make us feel fulfilled and delighted in the years that have gone past us.

But it’s a bit of a false memory, eh? We’re able to pick and choose the pieces of the last year or years, filtering out the parts we don’t like to make the memories filled with only the best of the best. We compare the “glory days” — a version of the past that we have manipulated — to the present day, where we feel the fullness of joy, sorrow, excitement, grief, exhaustion, warmth and more. We notice our wrinkles today in ways that we didn’t acknowledge last year or the year before. We critique our bodies and minds for the present moment, thinking that if we could just get back to those earlier days, we would feel happier, more alive, more at peace, and not nearly as pale and ashen looking.

January is a time of the year where we can set our intentions for the year ahead. It’s also a time of year when our bodies are meant to be slower, in hibernation, at least in the northern hemisphere. With our New Year’s resolutions in hand, deeply immersed in hygge, what could living for today look like? Rather than shame the wrinkles on our faces, what might it look like to love them and thank them for the laughter of days past? Rather than be frustrated with our chapped skin, what might it look like to rub some soothing lotion into the tired hands that continue to show love to our people, our work, our lives? Rather than compare our present self to a modified version of the past, what if we allow the inner glow of love and life to be the thing that lights our pathways home?

Pastor Meredith Harber is at Christ Lutheran Church at 128 N. Soldotna Ave. Worship is at 10 a.m. Sundays in person or on Facebook Live.

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