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Lady Pastor: Let your light shine in 2014

Happy new year to you! Feelings of renewal and possibility permeate the start of a new year. The start of 2014 is full of potential, with or without the obligatory list of resolutions.

But the ushering in of 2014 isn't our only reason to celebrate. Just around the corner on Jan. 6, we will honor the special day of Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates the visit of the magi (also called wise men) to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Check out the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 2, verses 1-12 for the full story.

When the magi visited, they brought along gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. There are many theories about why the magi brought these specific gifts, but no one knows for certain. Each was certainly of special value. But it wasn't just the physical gifts that were important. Also meaningful was their actual visit! The magi were willing to risk great danger and travel many miles in order to kneel before the infant king. Their presence was also a present!

The start of a new year is a good opportunity for all of us to consider the gifts we might offer in the months ahead. More than the physical objects, we are invited to ponder the personal characteristics, hobbies, and passions we will share this year – with God, with others, and with the world.

Make it a priority

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If we leave giving of ourselves up to chance, awesome opportunities to love, share, and serve will likely end up on the back-burner. But if we approach this realm of life with intention, it is far more likely we will share our personal and spiritual gifts!

Do you have an uncanny ability to be cheerful? Share that joy in some concrete ways this year. Make a plan and seek out opportunities.

Are you especially good with language? Perhaps this is your year to share that gift and volunteer to do some English tutoring!

Perhaps you are handy with small fix-it projects. There are a host of non-profit organizations and congregations that would deeply value your assistance.

Does your heart yearn to write, paint, draw, or create? Maybe in the past it has been hard to carve out the time. Well, what better day to re-prioritize sharing your creative gifts? The world needs your spark. Shine!

Goals for gifts to share

Unlike the magi, gold, frankincense and myrrh are not high on my gifting priority list this year. But I have been considering new ways to give of myself in 2014.

Volunteering is a high priority area for me. As my pastoral involvements have increased over the years, my volunteerism has decreased. I am looking forward to correcting that oversight in the months ahead by adding some new, intentional ways of serving in our community.

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What gifts will you share in 2014? Carve out a little time today to consider the unique ways God is inviting you to shine your light in the year ahead.

The Lady Pastor is a weekly column by Emily Carson, a Lutheran pastor in Stewartville. Visit her blog at: www.emilyannecarson.com .

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