Next week we celebrate Epiphany and the visit of the Wisemen, the Magi, to toddler Jesus. They brought Jesus gifts to honor the King. I’ve always thought that these gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, while symbolic, also probably helped his parents survive. These Gifts gave them resources they could sell, as they started a new life in Egypt as refugees.
As we begin the journey of 2021 together, I’d like to suggest that we look back at where we’ve been.
What gifts have helped you survive in 2020?
What gifts do you need to open and take with you into 2021?
What baggage, old stuff, or “bad presents” do you need to leave behind?
I want to consider in the next few weeks, the gifts that we’ve received from 2020, the gifts we want to receive and give ourselves in the new adventure of 2021.
Consider, look back at your year… I like to use my phone to look at the photos I’ve taken to reflect and take note of what I’ve been up to over the course of the year. You might use your calendar or your Facebook or Instagram feed to reflect on your year.
What things helped you stay sane in 2020?
What were the gifts that you received in 2020?
Who are the people God brought your way as gifts for you to experience?
What experiences have blessed you in 2020?
For me… flowers, planting them, purchasing them and having them in my home.
The view on my walk with our dog, Jake… it gave me a bird’s-eye view of our city and got me praying for places and people I might not think of before.
My bird feeder.
Getting outside in Nature.
Our church Zoom gatherings.
Shows like “Downton Abbey,” “Task Master” on YouTube, “Hamilton” and “The Mandalorian”.
Following people in different countries on Instagram… who helped me travel when I could not.
What things do you need to leave behind in 2020?
I’d like to leave behind my desire to fix things… especially those things I cannot control.
I’d like to leave behind my anger and frustration at people I cannot change.
What gifts do you want to bring with you into 2021?
That I don’t have to be as busy as I think I do. I’d like to help other people see the creativity they can have online even when you cannot meet in person.
A gift I want to give to myself and to all of us in 2021 is the The Gift of Compassion and Attention.
Actually, I want us to imagine three gifts, like the three gifts of the Magi.
Let’s open each one and really receive them in 2021.
I want us each to open the gift of compassion for ourselves.
Let’s be honest, we have had a hard year.
We have gone through a lot, on so many levels.
Let’s give ourselves the gift of compassion that where we are is totally OK.
We don’t have to be different, better, or farther along.
Let us truly receive the gift of compassion for ourselves.
Let’s open the gift of attention.
What does taking care of ourselves look like in 2021?
We give attention to our work, our homes, our friends and family, but what does it look like to give attention to ourselves?
Giving ourselves the attention we need and deserve just like we’d give a favorite friend or a child.
We need to give ourselves that attention and care, so we can heal
and so we can have margin to give to others.
What does this gift of attention look like for you?
Take some time to reflect on this.
Is it a ritual of a walk each day, a bubble bath, or a nap? Is it time to create something or making a phone/zoom date with a friend?
Actually put it on your list and/on your calendar!
Now open the Third box… the gift of attention and compassion for others.
I really want to give this gift to our world!
I want everyone to pay attention to one another in 2021.
Really look and really see
see each other…
not just the person or people who live in your house or my house,
But the people in our neighborhoods, on your street, in your town or city.
Who are they?
What are their lives really like?
How are their lives different or the same because of 2020?
Actually take the time to consider this and walk a bit in their shoes.
These people matter to God.
These people reflect God’s image.
Our Actions or In-actions truly do affect their lives.
How can we open the Gift of Compassion and attention in 2021?
Let’s pray and ask God to give us eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of those around us!
©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com