Is that you, 2017? Welcome! It's nice to see you! Come on it! Let me take your coat. 2016 and I are sharing a pot of coffee. We've been reminiscing about the last 12 months.

Pull up a chair and join us, new year. Before you take over at midnight, maybe we should pause and reflect together.

2016, you've been a year of years. You taught me a lot, emotionally, spiritually, globally, financially, and politically. A few of the manifold wisdom nuggets you etched into my cranium:

Ask questions about everything.You were the year that freed me to ask more questions about many different parts of life — from geology to the economy. I used to think my job was to know stuff — especially stuff about God since I'm a pastor. 2016 revealed that my life assignment is in many ways to un-know. To learn and unlearn in equal measure. To never stop asking questions. To prioritize curiosity.

Listen more. There are a lot of voices in our national and international landscape who aren't being heard. There are a lot of stories that aren't being told. The loudest voices aren't usually the most important voices, and the content in my social media newsfeed isn't always what's most deserving of my attention. 2016, you showed me that not only do I need to ask more questions, I need to be prepared to listen with intention.

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Be part of solutions.It's easy to complain. It's easy, too, to become distraught and disconnected. A volunteer training session with Rochester's Diversity Council, a revamp of the database we use at my workplace, and a powerful phone call with a staff member at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were game-changing experiences for my spirit this past year. 2016 was the year I committed to solutions-based thinking.

Let love in.For much of my life, I tried to block the free flow of Love. I attempted to create a world in which I could send out love but didn't have to be willing to receive it. I didn't feel comfortable asking for help or depending on others. 2016, you showed me that there are other ways to move about in the world; you showed me the beauty of letting love in.

So thanks, 2016. Thanks for all the experiences that led to those learnings. You were a year full of surprises, and I'm grateful.

And now for you, 2017! Do you need a refill on that coffee? You've got a big night ahead. You must be pretty excited.

New year, you're full of possibility. You're a big ol' 365-day question mark. You're an invitation to an adventure yet unknown.

I'd like to go ahead and RSVP anyway. I'd like to RSVP to living fully and leaning deeply toward whatever you have in store, 2017. Every inhale, every exhale. Every sunrise and sunset. I'm ready.

Goodbye for now, 2016. Thank you for the walk down memory lane. Thanks for paving the way for all that is to come. And I'll see you soon, 2017, with my heart open wide and my notebook ready.