Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Well now that the Christmas wrapping carnage has been cleared away and the vertigo has begun to subside, I feel a bit depressed. December 26th is a lot like a hangover as we feel the pain inflicted upon ourselves by over-indulging. I get a little depressed after singing “Joy to the World” as I begin to think of getting back to normal.
One of the ways I cope is to reflect upon the good this year has brought. While it has definitely brought its share of bad, 2011 also delivered moments that offered me a bit of hope for the next year.
I wonder what fed you this year?
What piece of art or literature moved you to look outside of yourself?
What relationship changed the way you felt about life?
How did you live a better story in 2011?
I hope that in this last week of 2011 we can, as the scripture above says, dwell on the good. And, in so doing, ignite a passion to reach for the lovely again this next year.
Being a bibliophile (look it up) one area I love to dwell on is what I read this past year. Here are some of the books I read that made an impact on me in 2011:
The Pastor by Eugene Peterson: This memoir of the author of The Message is the most influential book I’ve read (outside the Bible). Peterson has a knack for God sightings, interpreting seemingly mundane events in his life as providential moments crucial to his vocation as Pastor. This book helped my imagination reclaim a biblical and believable vision of what a pastor could be, of what I could be.
In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen: Over the course of an hour and a half I devoured this little book on leadership. Nouwen redefines leadership in light of Jesus’ temptation. Nouwen calls the Christian leader of the future to be “irrelevant” by pointing solely to the grace and love of Jesus and not to our own ability. What an encouragement for the incompetent among us.
While I read much more, these two books made the greatest impact on me.
So I ask: What did you read in 2011?
Michael is still “hungover” from Christmas but his 2-year-old makes it all worth while. He will continue his survey of “whatever is lovely” from 2011 at his blog A Sprig of Hope.