A popular contemporary hymn has the phrase in it that I’m using for the title of this month’s first-day visit. The year has gone by so quickly. Here we are at Advent.
Jeannie and I pray that you and your friends and family will have a blessed Christmas experience. It seems that we have to it in the midst of a world bent on its own consumerism, which is driven by the need to exceed last-year’s sales’ record, which means adding more days and hours to the shopping madness.
But ours is the season of “Emmanuel”—God with us! And we hope that you will experience this Reality in the midst of everything else that will occur.
The end of the year also means we are on the threshold of a new year. And with respect to Oboedire, this means several things that I want to share with you….
(1) It means we are carrying forward a larger Oboedire family than we began with twelve months ago. It’s mainly in the area of subscriptions, and that means more people receive the postings automatically and follow the ministry with greater knowledge and (hopefully) benefit. We now exceed 8,000 hits per month, and when I see that, I feel an even-keener responsibility to be devoted and faithful to this ministry.
You might want to consider “giving Oboedire” as a Christmas gift to someone—that is, encouraging them to become part of the family by either subscribing or visiting the Oboedire site. I’m sure you know people whose heart beats in a similar way to yours. Invite them to experience Oboedire, and it may even enrich your fellowship and conversation with them.
(2) It means I am entering a time of sabbatical. On December 31st, I retire after almost 30 years as a Professor at Asbury Seminary. Jeannie and I are using the first eight months of the year as a formal “sabbath time”—a time to rest, reflect, and renew. It is a time to discern God’s guidance as we move from one age/stage of life to another. So, I ask for your ongoing intercessions.
(3) It means continuing to dream about Oboedire. Your encouragement related to the development of a “School of Attentive Formation” is continuing to bear fruit, and I will be writing you more about this as 2013 begins. You also spoke positively about the possibility of the “Order for Attentive Formation,” and I continue to pray about that. I am also exploring new media for publishing Oboedire resources and providing actual ministries of formation for individuals and congregations.
In the midst of the ending/beginning cycle, we must “stay cool” and “live well.” None of this is to be hurried or forced. Everything is to be held loosely and leisurely. Some of what we see will not happen. Some things that we do not see will happen. It is all a life lived in response to grace. It’s all an expression of the Mystery—but it is Mystery coming to us as Love.
Thank you for being a member of the Oboedire family. I look forward to continuing the journey, as God directs. And again, have a blessed Christmas!