Year End Clearance
By Cory L. Kemp
Last week at this time we were on the home stretch to Christmas Eve and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Only days later, we are packing away the last vestiges of another almost-spent year. January issues of home decorating magazines foretold this story when they hit the newsstands at mid-December. Retailers hit the ground running with web-based clearance sales that started Christmas morning. The magazines are lined up to assist us in clearing out our closets, letting go of what we no longer need, and reorganizing what we decide to keep. Since the stores are about that same process, they are wooing us with low prices so they can clear out their stockrooms, get rid of everything they can, and reorganize what they have left. Such is the rhythm of a consumer-based culture. But this December-to-January transition can also be a time of reflection, a reorganization of our senses, and a recreation of our hopes and dreams. Closing the door of what is coming to an end, and embracing what is before us is the rhythm of life and faith.
What about your life, from this year passing, or any other year, would you like to let go of, pack up, and send out of your life for good? What experiences have given you their lessons, and are ready to be cleared away to make room for new growth and opportunity? Are there bruises to your ego that will heal if you stop beating your head against the wall for mistakes made long ago? What forgivenesses can you extend, and what offenses can you lay to rest that will lighten your load, and allow you to see the back wall of your emotional and spiritual closet? We talk a lot about our over-stressed society, but I suspect what we are at least partially suffering from is an inability to forgive ourselves and others. Forgiveness is a gift that makes room in our lives.
Making room in our lives means we can invest some energy and faith in our hopes and dreams. There is something expansive and glorious in lifting our heads, casting a vision of what we would most love for ourselves and our lives, and welcoming God to help us make them happen. It is a pleasurable prospect when we let ourselves believe God intends for us to live full, abundant lives, rich in new possibilities. I believe God delights in us as we enjoy our lives, making more of them at every chance we can. There is great beauty in a life lived with purpose and grace. What are dreams you have held captive and unrealized in your heart all these years? What would most please you to manifest into your life this year? Is learning a second language aching to speak its mind? Do travel plans tug at your heart, waiting to be set free? Does your soul dance when you think about a new job that will exercise your true gifts? Perhaps you are looking for just the right place to be of service, make a difference in someone else's life, and are itching to find that place? God is hoping these hopes, and dreaming these dreams with you, and has been all along.
Beyond the material focus of the holiday season, this time of year gives us a united, clearly-recognizable boundary of endings and new beginnings. In the cycle of life, and the cycle of faith, it is important to note these times, give ourselves permission to give to ourselves in the way we desire, and know that God stands close beside us as we make this transition once again.
About The Author
Cory L. Kemp
As an ordained minister I have worked in educational ministries in several congregations, as well as pastoring a congregation. My writing has focused on nonfiction essays and I have recently submitted a theological memoir for publication. My ministerial background and love of writing have combined to develop Creating Women Ministries, a website dedicated to encouraging theological dialogue, particularly among women, through workshops, journaling and personal spiritual development.