Deb and I are in Canada for Christmas. We’ve been snug in my parents warm house as a ferocious blizzard rages over Eastern Ontario. Though the house shakes, and roads are closed, our hearts are full of gratitude for being safe. Our kids are all in the basement, in a makeshift bunker. It reminded me of the subways and real bunkers our friends have hidden in during this past war.

It’s been a wild year, full of heartache, instability. Yet, throughout this year we’ve experienced the invitation of our loving Savior, the Shepherd of our souls. This invitation is beckoning us still as we look ahead, or attempt to look ahead to this coming year. Each year we reset in some ways. The calendar turns, and we look with anticipation. What will this year bring? What will my relationships look like, my workplace, my health?

The older I get, the less is taken for granted, and the deeper satisfying things become hoped for. I hope to be with those I love, to visit with friends torn away by war, to enjoy the sense of control that comes with planning more than a week in advance (not that this produces the joy we hope it does!).

New year, but the invitation from our loving Creator remains the same. It’s the same invitation that brings the satisfaction we long for. Contentment, a restful place of being loved, where our fears melt away and we release the clenched fist over things we hope to accomplish. The same invitation of intimacy, of surrender, and trust. The place of joining Jesus way, the way of the cross, passing through the death of temporal, fleeting things, our souls enlivened in fresh ways that aim past this life and grab hold of anchored things. I sense the invitation to trust, to look beyond the vision of my eyes, to respond to the compelling whisper and wink of the Spirit. I’m in, Lord, as much as I know how.

I want to know you more Lord, Jesus. The invitation has been sent out, the table is set. New year, same invitation.

(below is a 2 minute audio message that automatically plays if you scan the QR code with your phone. It’s on our new bookmarks, which we wil hand out to friends as we journey around the US and Canada on this trip).