A picture of Reverend Christine at the pulpit during her installation ceremony

Today is my birthday. It is a running joke that having a birthday the weeks after Solstice, Christmas and New Years feels like a big let-down. I don’t need any more presents, I don’t necessarily want to go eat more and I definitely don’t want a cake! When I was younger, I would get a little bummed about that (don’t even get me started on the people who forgot my birthday because they mentioned it at Christmas!), but now my perspective has shifted a lot.

On my birthday, I like to reflect on just how much gratitude I have for the abundance in my life. Having a birthday so close to the turn of the New Year gives me an opportunity to pause and reflect. I often pull out my journal, hike to someplace peaceful and write–mostly about all these gratitudes. This year, I am grateful for my health and that of my family. I am grateful for wonderful sons and daughter-in-laws. I am grateful for my wife and the job she loves. I am grateful for our wonderful home and amusing pets, and I am very grateful for you–a congregation that I love more and more each year.

I believe that no matter what is happening in our life, we can always practice gratitude. Even in difficult times–especially in difficult times–the practice of gratitude can ground us in the abundance that is ALWAYS around us. It helps us to feel connected to the world outside of our troubles and reminds us that there is comfort, hope and love surrounding us always.

Now, let me get back to eating that cake that I definitely didn’t want.