What wishes do I have for the New Year, for myself and for others? It would not be very difficult to compile a long list of things I long for, with good health for myself and the people who are close to me at the top of the list.

But if I were to single out one specific thing (something that usually does not figure in the New Year’s wish lists), it would be imagination.

In the Dutch language we have a good word for imagination, but this word also has some other, negative, connotations. It is usually associated with arrogance, self-importance, pride and self-sufficiency.

I would not wish a greater measure of any of these negative attributes to anyone. Some of us already have quite enough of those. The Dutch word (verbeelding) also has another meaning: imagination, the ability to picture something in our mind, a lively phantasy.

Blessed are (in my opinion) the people who posses an ample portion of imagination. This is not only true for artists, even though it is the foremost requirement for them, if they want to create an object of art. Imagination lies at the basis of all artistic expressions.

But artists are not the only ones who need imagination. When you are making plans, you must be able to visualize—to imagine—how these plans will work out.  You will not achieve much in terms of of innovation, for instance, and you will not find many creative solutions, if you have no imaginative powers.

To bring it a little closer home: A minister must have a fair amount of imagination, especially in finding an approach to preaching that will interest people today: sermons that re-tell biblical stories and then actualize them for our circumstances and time. If you do not have a good imagination, you would do well to stay away from these types of sermons!

A church also—from the level of the local church to the highest ecclesiastical body—needs imagination. This, unfortunately, is absent in quite a few local faith communities, which means that everything remains as it was. And also at higher levels (even the highest one) we see but little imagination. Yet, this is absolutely necessary if we want to dream about the future—about how it could be if we gave space to all fellow-believers around us and would challenge them to embark on new faith adventures, with God and their fellow-believers.

My wish for all my blog-readers is: a tremendous—healthy, blessed and productive–New Year. But above everything else: a major degree of imaginative power.