happy new year!

a. tired?
It’s been fairly well non-stop for a while now, hasn’t it?
Because whether we wanted it or not—
bought into it or not,
we were pretty much assaulted with Christmas
since Halloween—
the advertisements and commercials,
the music and the decorations—
in the stories, around town,
on TV and the radio.

There was so much going on,
and so much of it good stuff:
special offerings, service and giving opportunities,
seasonal and beloved music and worship,
the rich symbols of one of our great stories—
not to mention the parties!

But as good as it was, it still felt like
we’d been on one of those moving sidewalks
like they have at the airports—
being moved along faster
than we’re actually moving ourselves.

And someone walking by while I was working on this article
in Fellowship Hall, Wednesday evening, December 19,
saw the title (“tired?”)
and simply said, “Yes!”

But now,
January.
And seasonal momentum
is no longer added to our movement through time.
Instead,
it’s the sudden
cessation of
added forward
momentum
that propels us forward
stumbling—
trying to regain our balance.

b. Sabbath
So, receive the gift of January.

And may you find again—find anew
the balance of your own pace
to begin this new year—
remembering with gratitude what has come to pass—
but grateful now for days of reflection—contemplation—
days with no external propulsion—
days on which to consider
the power of the anticipation, hope, expectation
that swept us along
gifting us with truth amidst its wild currents—
the truth of God with us—
God come to us.
Grateful
for days to wonder at what we were given—

the truth,
within time
that we most often rush by—
not noticing—
only to remember, later …
if we but take the time to reflect.

c. Epiphany
So may we find time—take time—
even amidst January’s rest and reflection—
to notice
a star … as it were—
far enough away
to reflect already
on what is,
and so to guide us,
even now,
into what is—

not as what we rush past,
but as what we stumble over and into—

to find ourselves contemplating still, a baby—
that represents, as do all babies,
years of diapers—
wondering when you’ll finally be done with them,
and that extra change of clothes
that goes with you absolutely everywhere,
and all the stuff that fills the car every time you travel.
A baby represents years of caring for—providing for—
one who can initially do so little for him or herself—
years of marveling at the gift
all wrapped up in dependence
and the challenge of raising one so dependent
into interdependence—
years of watching and ever getting to know deeper—
of teaching and learning from—
committed to being in consistent conversation with—
years of laughing—
of loving—
years of hope and prayer.

We’re not in a hurry.
Everyone tells you, in fact,
how so very quickly this will all go by,
right?

But, for now, a baby.

So rest
as spiritual discipline—
as opportunity
not to miss that present—
the present God is
always giving us.

Embrace slowing down—
into the fullness
of now.

It’s January.

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2 thoughts on “happy new year!

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