3 communities worshipping together at First Congregational Church in Park Ridge.
I’m doing the children’s sermon. Bring cheesy/small/dollar store party hates.
Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today.
So my name is Marc, and I’m the Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church. I am glad to be here today with y’all. What are your names? Listen to the names of the kids who are there. Repeat each name after they tell you them. You’re bad with names but try to remember. Awesome. Thanks for coming here today (especially since it’s so cold outside).
So today is a special day….it’s….put on a New Year’s Eve party hat.
Today is December 31. It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s the LAST DAY OF 2017! It’s a bit of a holiday. Some people are having parties and will spend tonight wearing party hats. Others are staying home but planning to stay up past their bedtime so they are awake when it’s 12:00 am – when it’s finally January 1, 2018. And others will try to do that – but they’ll fall asleep on the couch instead.
Today is a great day to think about the last year – and think about what was good about the last year, what wasn’t so good, and then make goals and plans for 2018. Those goals and plans for 2018 are sometimes called “New Year’s Resolutions.” And “New Year’s Resolutions” we come up with sometimes grow out of our experiences of the last year – what went right and what went wrong. So, if it’s okay, let’s do a little of that right now. We don’t have to think about the last year – but maybe we can think about just this last week. Maybe we can share our a “high” from the week and a “low” from the week.
So for example, a high for me for this last week would be seeing the new Star Wars movie. I liked it. I had a great time watching it, seeing it in the movies, and eating popcorn. I had fun. So that’s why it’s a high for me.
And if I wanted to share my low, I’d mention how I was feeling sick all week – but I feel better now. So I was tired and sneezy and I lost my voice – it wasn’t fun. So that’s was my low.
What about you? Do you have a high or low? See if anyone wants to offer a high or low for their week. If they share, thank them for it.
Thanks for sharing! That was great. Highs and Lows are great because they help us get to know each other a little bit – and also help us know if there are specific things we should pray for when we pray for our friends – what we are thankful for, what we need help with, and what we can ask God for.
So one way we sometimes spend this day is doing what we just did – thinking about what went right and what went wrong – and maybe making goals and plans for 2018 to go better.
But did you notice the order we just went? We started with our highs and we ended with our lows. And it’s sometimes easier to focus on our lows – on our frustrations and on things that didn’t go right. Maybe school isn’t going well, or something is bothering you, or there’s a struggle. And sometimes, the lows are going to dominate what is going on in our lives. That’s just the way it is.
But I’m going to invite you to try something – when you spend today thinking about your highs and lows for the year and dream up your New Year’s Resolutions, I want you to think about your lows first – but then end with the highs.
End with the things that went well. End with the moments when you felt loved, included, and happy. End with the moments that were awe inspiring, filled you with wonder, made you go wow. End with what you have – and wrap all of that up with something that can never be taken away from you – And that’s Jesus. All of you, right now, whether you can feel it or not, are beloved children of God. You are part of Jesus’ family. You matter to the creator of everything. And even in the moments when things don’t go as well – and we will have those moments, and sometimes those moments will last longer than we want, you still have Jesus with you, no matter what. And that’s something to celebrate today – and into every New Year too.
Thank you for being here and Happy New Year!
Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on New Year’s Eve (with First UCC and Pascack Reformed Church) on 12/31/2017.