From the Pastor's Pen

Pastor Sally’s Devotional 1/5

| January 5, 2021

Dear friends,


Happy New Year!  It’s really nice to be back in my little “at home” study and at work in our church again.  I had a lovely vacation.  It was quiet – just my husband, me and Theo, the “better all the time” basset hound.  At two and a half Theo is almost well behaved… almost.  I spent most of my vacation either working on the quilt I’m making for my new grandson or helping Mike set up a serious “home office.”  Mike began his work as the Transitional pastor of First Presbyterian in Battle Creek today.


One of the other things I did during vacation was to download the TED talks app on my phone.  I have dabbled in TED talks from time to time and decided TED would be a good distraction while I’m exercising.  TED talks, if you don’t know, are short inspirational talks by people who are experts in their fields.  They cover a broad range of topics including: science, technology, sociology, psychology, education, entertainment, music and current events.  They are usually really well done.


One of the talks that caught my attention last week was called “The Happy Secret to Better Work” by Shawn Achor.  Here’s the link in case you want to listen.

Shawn is a psychologist and CEO of Good Think Inc.  His talk was about how to change one’s thinking from negative thoughts to positive thoughts.  This is particularly appealing to me as we enter January… brrr.  January and February are hard months for me and hard months for a lot of people.  The cold grey skies have a way of sucking the joy right out of a person.  Additionally there are no major holidays.  In the church we call this time, “ordinary time.”  How boring is that?  Very often I begin January by counting the days until Ash Wednesday when we can start a major season of our church life!  Only six and a half weeks this year.  We just have to hunker down and get through this winter.  ☹


Wow!  Did you notice how much negative talk there was in that previous paragraph.  Shawn Achor says we need to reframe our live stories with good words and positive images.  Instead of complaining we should think of three things we are thankful for each day.  We should try journaling about one good thing that happened each day so we can relive it as we write and relive it when we go back later to read our journal.  Shawn says by doing these simple things we teach our brains to look for positive things instead of negative things.  I think this idea actually works well with something Jesus said.  Jesus said he came that we might have life and life in abundance (John 10:10).  I remember this scripture often.  It’s important to me.  When I’m feeling low, I try to remember that Jesus came to bring us abundant life and so I look around and name the abundance around me.


So let’s try that upper paragraph about January and February again.  What wonderful months!  These two months are deliciously cold.  The cool air refreshes you when you venture outside and shakes the cobwebs from your brain.  Winter is the season of snuggling with good books by the fire, long phone calls to friends and hot chocolate.  The snowflakes brighten the trees and glisten in the sunlight.  In February we share our love liberally on Valentines day!  And in the church we enjoy a “Growing Season” sometimes called Ordinary Time, when we dive into the stories of the life of our Lord and grow in our discipleship!  Yay winter!!!


Well, I’m feeling better already.  How about you?


Pr. Sally

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