The people who walked in darkness
  have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
  on them light has shined.”   

                 Isaiah 9:2

 Dear St. Mark:

     Today, I took notice of a quite ordinary sight, a group of growing weeds. Normally I would have not even given these weeds a second thought. You, too, probably might pass them by without even thinking of them. Nevertheless, today, for some reason I noticed these weeds. A bunch of weeds growing right there in the crack of the road. Life sprouting in a patch of asphalt. And not just any little bit of asphalt, but layers of it, poured out over stones, spread about, and steam rolled over and over again, decade after decade, layer upon layer, covering the ground deep below. And yet, despite the hard crusty covering of blacktop pushing down, the sprout of life breaks through, rising up to meet the sun.

            It seems a miracle that it could live. To overcome so much just to germinate and have the right combination of nutrients, water, and sunlight to grow.  Yet, even as it sprouts, it has to face even greater odds, the harshness of winter. It is late December, about to be January after all, the bitterness of the freezing air battles with the warmth of the sunbaked pavement, just enough to allow it to make it through.

            Yet even greater threats work against it each day, each moment. Whatever does break the surface of the roadway is under the constant threat of vehicle tires. It is facing the weight of tons of heavy metal cars and trucks hurdling over the road, at any minute, about to strike it and drive it back down.

            Today, I noticed a bunch of weeds that grow in the harshest of materials, in the cold of winter, overcoming constant threats, and yet it still lives.

            As we enter a new year, may you have the same determination in life.  As you face the world, obstacles that need overcome, physical and spiritual attacks that may shake you, may you stay grounded in God, grow towards the Son, and rely on the Spirit each and every day. Be determined, the light has come shining into our darkness and calling us to new life. Grow in faith and flourish today and throughout the new year.

                                                            In the peace and grace of God,

                                                                        Pastor Kirk Griffin