Journey Notes for January - Happy New Year
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Eugene Petersen’s The Message Paraphrase)
Friends on the Journey,
It is always so hard for me to write a January newsletter article when Advent isn’t even half over. I don’t like rushing the season or looking that far past Christmas. I really like to linger in Advent and to pause over Christmas to give myself some time to take in the wonder and the joy of the season. It all flies past so quickly. Before you know it we’ll be talking about Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week. Don’t you wish we could all just slow down and savor the sights and sounds of that holy time. This year I contemplated not writing this article at all. I could just remind you to honor the 12 Days of Christmas (December 25 until Epiphany on January 6), and leave it at that ….
As I was contemplating that, I realized that our new year’s celebration is in the middle of those 12 days. We mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Christ’s birth marked the end of one age and the beginning of the next. God sent Christ into the world to offer us a new life, putting behind us the old. On New Year’s we pause to reflect on what is behind us and look forward to what the new year might bring. The coming of Christ into our lives does the same—it helps us to reflect on what we must leave behind, and it gives us hope for what the future holds. Even as we change our calendars we can be reminded of how much Emmanuel changed everything. As we begin a new year, it might be a good time to thank God not only for the year that is past and what looms ahead but to also offer gratitude for the new life you have in Christ. Keep that hope, peace, love and joy of Christmas in your hearts as you move into 2018.
Howard Thurman encourages us to keep Christmas in our lives in “The Work of Christmas.”
When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are at home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, Then the work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal those broken in spirit, To feed the hungry, To release the oppressed, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among all peoples, To make a little music with the heart … And to radiate the Light of Christ, Every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say. Then the work of Christmas begins. Let’s carry Christmas into our new year.
Blessings on you journey,
PS—Some of you may have noticed that I have developed a “slight” limp. Unfortunately, I need to have both my knees replaced. I will be having that surgery on February 7 and would appreciate your prayers.