“May your walls know joy; may each room hold laughter, and may every window open to great possibility.”
– Mary Ann Radwacher-Hershey –
For this new year, instead of making a list of goals, I chose a word.
I lay awake just after midnight, in the first minutes of January 1st, and the word welcome jumped to life in my head.
For the past few months, I’ve been curiously poking around at the impact of community. I’m collecting articles of all sorts–on loneliness, crime, orphanages, homelessness, imprisonment–anywhere that isolation rears its head, I want to learn about it. More importantly, I want to know what Christians can do about it…what I can do about it. How could the Gospel I believe penetrate all these varieties of loneliness? Because I know it can.
This is why welcome is my word for 2016.
Meanwhile, God is doing things in my family that I would have never guessed. Our family is growing by “adoption” as individuals and families are coming into our home for a few hours…or a few months. Like never before, I am getting to welcome in new family members into the ups and downs of my everyday life. Not just company. Not just bringing them into a freshly-cleaned house for pre-planned hospitality. They’re literally living in my space. Literally becoming part of us. Literally looking for a home that we can offer.
Welcome, my friends. Welcome, my new family. Welcome.
At the same time, I am trying to learn how to welcome my brother and parents, in the context of time spent together. I am amazed that I have known them all my life, and yet still their desires and personalities baffle me so often. As part of welcoming them into my heart, I am beginning to discover –or at least trying to discover– what they love the most. “How can I be a blessing to them, today?” I am learning to ask. Not that it is easy…but maybe love is so beautiful because it takes work. It takes real heart, not just the leftovers.
This a year of learning to welcome.
What will the journey of 2016 look like? What new experiences will God call me to welcome into my life? What people will He give me to welcome into my space, my heart? What wisdom can I welcome into my soul? What joy can I make room for?
“….Good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ.”
– 1 Thessalonions 5:16-18, Phillips –
Why choose the word welcome?
Welcome is an expression of joy at the arrival of something or someone. It stems from the idea of a pleasing, wished-for visit.
Making space for welcome in my year means making myself available for the journey God has for me. It means opening my eyes to opportunities I might otherwise ignore. Most importantly, it means becoming like Jesus, compassionately touching all those who enter my life in the days ahead. In His strength, I wish for my face to be a restful home for the weary.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
– Matthew 10:40-42, NIV –
That’s why I chose welcome for 2016. It’s about cups of water–giving away lots and lots of clear water to thirsty little ones.
It’s my joy. In fact, I think it is why I was made.
Will you choose a word for the year, or do you prefer to write out goals for the next 12 months? Whatever you choose, let me know in the comments! You all inspire me!
“I am strangely glad to get back again to you: and wherever you are is my home—my only home.”
― Charlotte Brontë,