As the Christmas season draws to a close, often the January blues set in. For some people, it is difficult to return to the mundane tasks, what with the taking down of the Christmas tree and decorations, the turning off of the lights, the packing of the tinsel, the removal of Santa, the final re-reading of Christmas cards before recycling, and the returning of the Christmas box to the attic for another year. For others it is a relief to return to normal as children act up on too much chocolate and sugar and late nights. The return to school is a relief for many parents.
For the lonely, January provides relief from the hype and excitement that goes with the commercialisation that lead up to the Christmas season. The impending dread in November and December of another sad Christmas, the lack of enjoyment, the sense of nostalgia for Christmas past is coloured by an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness with family members gone abroad, out of touch, or gone to their eternal reward. But now January is a time to put the annual recurring sadness behind.
And finally there can be a sense of hope and expectation as new resolutions are made as this could be the year that the many and oft tried failed resolutions of previous Januarys finally take lasting effect in our lives.
As we return to term and school and work (and yes, school traffic) and ordinary tasks, let us take time to pause and reflect. What does this feast of Epiphany mean to us? Have we lost that sense of wonder and imagination? What does the Lord want of me? Do I feel closer to God or more distant from Him? of our childhood?
As we reflect on the journey of the Wise Men, what is my journey? Where has 2012 brought me, and what does 2013 hold out for me?
How has this Christmas gone – and on this ‘Twelfth Night’ can I reflect on how has God shown Himself to me over the Christmas period through the kindness and cheer of others, of simple words or acts of kindness, even a smile.
Have I really made the effort to look for Him in prayer – to do Him homage like the wise? Have I taken time to pray before the crib? Do I pray at all? What is the quantity and quality of my prayer? Do I believe it is a relationship or a thing to get done on a checklist in a very busy day?
The wise men have much to teach us. They made the effort – and not only did they find the King – we are told He was to be found with His mother. I think that is a little clue or hint – we are wise if we seek Jesus – with Mary to show us the way – the Star of the Sea – pointing us all in the right direction, to true wisdom, the wisdom of God.
As 2013 begins and even if I have not yet made a resolution, it is not too late to go to the crib – it will be here for at least another week. To open my treasures – to open what is most dear to me – what I alone can give, that is, my heart to Him, ‘for where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure’. Maybe I am called to open my eyes to the needs of others, to open my mouth in sympathy support and comfort, and to open my hands in generosity, and to open my home to those I have excluded. January often provides an opportunity to say ‘out with the old and in with the new.’ We must de-clutter once more, and share not only our treasures, but what we alone can uniquely give – our treasured time and talent as well – in love. These the gift we can give the whole year round and not just at Christmas.
May Christ lead the way in all our journeys wherever they may take us , and may we all find Christ with His Mother this year.