If you happen to be reading this early on Friday morning when this week’s “First Notes” probably hit your email inbox, then let me be one of the first to point out that it’s Friday, January 6. I think we can all agree that this particular date has received a lot of bad press over the last couple of years, but this morning I want to remind you that we should be recalling that this date in history marks Epiphany, the final day of the Christian holiday season, commonly associated with the 12th day after the birth of Jesus. One interpretation is that the 12 days is a symbolic representation of the amount of time it took the Wise Men to travel to Bethlehem to recognize Jesus as the son of God. Historically, Epiphanyhas been recognized in many cultures as a Christian day of feasting to celebrate the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.
I’m sure that for many of you, by the end of the first week in January, you’re already back in your normal daily routines, school is back in session, the decorations have been put away, and you’re pretty close to finishing off the last of the Christmas cookies, and that’s OK, it really is!!
But for me, I find myself still in the midst of the transition, moving forward into the new year with faith and hope, but also with prayers and concerns for our world, our country, our church, and for those I love, while at the same time trying to savor the joyful moments from these most recent holidays and from the year 2022. My wife Kathy found a poem by Sheenagh Pugh that beautifully captured my mood during these holidays and this first week of January, 2023:
Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care enough,
that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.
Blessings on your New Year,