The Pastor's Peace - January, 2014
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As I write this, we are in the midst of winter storm “Falco.” That sounds so serious. “Falco” reminds me of a villain’s name from an old science fiction movie. Why couldn’t they name it winter storm “Frank” or “Figgie;” those sound much less intimidating. Of course, that is probably the point. The Weather Channel just started naming winter storms this year, even though there are no meteorological standards for this. They say it is to inform the public, but I think it is more likely related to ratings, and nothing drives up ratings more than people glued to the TV or computer, terrified of winter storm “F-A-L-C-O.” I’m sure there is an angle for the grocery stores as well. Milk probably will be $8 a gallon in January, not because of the lack of a new farm bill, but because we keep buying up all the milk every time there is a new scary storm. So by the time you read this, we will likely be at winter storm “Xanth the Destroyer” with the way our winter is going.

I joke, of course, about all of the hype and the unnecessary manufacturing of fear; however, there is a sad truth to us being overly terrified. Every time you turn on the news or watch even the Weather Channel, there is some new horrible thing going on. People are being shot, houses are on fire, winter storm Xanth will bury us, etc., etc. It almost makes you not want to leave your house, and if 2013 was that scary, what will happen in 2014? Will it be the end of the world? This is nothing new, although it would probably do us all good to watch the news less.
There have always been people who have made a full time job out of predicting the worst possible outcomes. And now they have the ability to reach folks all over the world 24/7. Even in Christ’s time there were people proclaiming every year was going to be the last, before God made everything crumble. Many in the early church wondered how long it would be before Christ returned, and many thought it would be days or months at the most, certainly not centuries or millennia.

What if I suggested, however, that things were really not that bad, and 2014 will be great? Some might think I am overly optimistic, but really the majority of our days are not filled with fire, death, and feet of snow. Every now and then something really bad does happen, but most of us could probably count on one hand those days when something actually worth being scared of happened to us in a given year.

So what should we focus on, the few scary things, or the abundance of reasonable days and good things that happen as well? Of course this does not sell news. No one will be glued to the TV if we feel that all our future days are likely good ones with not much to worry about. Thus my 2014 New Year wish for you is not to worry. I know it is hard, believe me I know, but try to see that Christ is with you, that most days are good, and that we are never alone even when days are bad. If you don’t believe me and need more proof than that, check out Matthew 6:25-34, a scripture many of us could stand to read every day.

Peace and Happy New Year,

Pastor Brian