First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone:(203) 744-6177

New Year's Message from Pastor Pat Kriss

A Clean Sweep

Rev Pat Kriss(Posted December 29, 2022)

I have to admit that some of my own upbringing about the New Year comes rising to the surface of my mind. Now, granted, when it comes to family origins, I’m pretty much a Heinz 57 edition of many backgrounds. But when it comes to New Years, that tiny part of my heart beats especially proud. My Scottish side.

New Years is called Hogmanay by people of Scottish background. One of the most important things about a new year is that you rid your life of the debris and negativity that marks the departing year. As far as your physical environment, that means cleaning the house from top to bottom, cleaning the ashes out of the fireplace, and dusting, dusting, dusting. 

Make Room for Good Things in the New Year

When I was in college I had a landlady from Glasgow. Ellen not only cleaned the house; she made her Italian husband paint the whole inside of the house once a year. He wasn’t too happy about this. But this Clean Sweep made room for good things to take place in the New Year. It’s a positive thing.

I’m suggesting to you that what we need to do for our own souls is very similar: Spend some time sweeping up the bad things that are the leftover debris of 2022. And then, think about the path that Jesus wants us to take in this shiny New Year.  

And as we CLEAN SWEEP the old to make room for the new, we cast out the following: 

Hatred, prejudice, racism particularly judgment against people of color and antisemitism, and against immigrants; 

We cast out a culture of violence, misogyny, agism; 

We cast out prejudice against people with mental health needs;

We cast out of OUR lives, the demons of anxiety and depression;

We cast out disrespect, and aggressive political attacks;

We cast out exploiting the powerless, creating the working poor;

We cast out greed and failure to pay our fair share into this society.

The Work of Christmas in the New Year

And what will we invite into our lives in the space left by the negatives?

We will paint the space with light and love. Jesus told us what we need to do.

And Howard Thurman tells us how to think beyond Christmas.

When the song of the angels is stilled, 
When the star in the sky is gone, 
When the kings and princes are home, 
When the shepherds are back with their flock, 
The work of Christmas begins: 

To find the lost, 
To heal the broken, 
To feed the hungry, 
To release the prisoner, 
To rebuild the nations, 
To bring peace among others, 
To make music in the heart. 


To all of us: Happy new year!


First Congregational Church
164 Deer Hill Ave.
Danbury, CT 06810
Est. 1696

Phone: (203) 744-6177

Office Hours:
Monday Closed
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday Closed

Thrift Shop Hours:
Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday Worship:
Sunday   10:00 a.m.–11 a.m.


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