From Nick González, Associate Pastor:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Last year, at this time, I was celebrating day 4 of being married. I could not believe that it had already been 4 days! Marriage was great, life was good, and 2019 was going to be a special year. My 2018 ended with getting married and my 2019 was going to be one of the most eventful years of my life.
Just a few short weeks after Lauren and I got married, we began the interview process with churches from around the country. And in the 2 months after that, we spent lots of time filled with anxiety and prayer, lots of prayer. And then it was Call Day and we found out where God had called us to serve. And then just 2 weeks after that, I graduated Seminary. And just 4 weeks after that, we traveled back to New Jersey so I could get ordained as a pastor. And just 3 weeks after that, I traveled to Minnesota for the 2019 National Youth Gathering and helped lead my brother’s youth group from New York. And 2 days after I got back from that, Lauren and I moved from St. Louis to Maryland. And then I was installed as the Associate Pastor at St. Andrew. In the months to follow, I would preach my first sermon at St. Andrew, officiate a wedding, baptize two children, and celebrate my first Christmas Eve at St. Andrew too. Not to mention, Lauren and I would celebrate our first married holidays together and rejoice in some of her amazing work accomplishments too!
So it’s fair to say that 2019 will be one of the most memorable years of my life, and I’ve only given you the good things. Because there were certainly challenges along the way, and hardships I was not exactly ready to face. Yet as I reflected on the past year, and began to think about what this new year might bring, I realized that I don’t have nearly as many things planned or “life-changing” events coming up. 2020 doesn’t have the same excitement built-in to the calendar that 2019 did. And as I came to this realization, I was reminded of these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I have no idea what this new year has in store for me. I know it doesn’t have any of the milestones that I achieved last year. And yet, I am reminded to continue to rejoice, to pray, and give thanks to God in whatever may come my way.
As for you, it’s day 2 of 2020, is your life already vastly different than it was 2 days ago? Are you already hitting your goals that you didn’t hit in 2019? Maybe the answer to both of these things is “YES!” to which I would say, Congrats and way to get off to a good start! But maybe for some of you, the year did not exactly start the way you thought it would. That could because of how your 2019 ended, or maybe the past 2 days just haven’t been nearly as exciting or eventful as you planned, or maybe they have, but for all the wrong reasons. In either of those situations, I want to remind you of those same words, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
May your 2020 be filled with rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving, for whatever may come your way, God is with you. He is watching over you, protecting you, and He loves you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!