Today, January 7th is Orthodox Christmas Day, and it’s the day after the Feast of Epiphany and the celebration of the Magi following the Star and finding the Light that is for ALL the world. If you’re Orthodox, Merry Christmas! And Happy Epiphany to us all! I love the season of Epiphany! It gives us all a chance to look again at the arrival of Jesus. So often, at least in pre-covid days, I could get so busy with the activities and work of the holidays, that too often the REAL meaning and message of Christmas got a bit lost. I found that celebrating the season of Epiphany gave me and my students a chance to breathe in the wonder of the season! And Epiphany reconnects us to Emmanuel, God with us, as the New Year begins.
Maybe you need some time to keep the wonder of Christmas going into 2022!
One of my Epiphany practices is to look back at the last year and review it with Jesus.
1. I go through my calendar and look back at the things that have happened…events, trips, meetings etc. What do I notice? What do I want to continue into the New Year or the next season? What do I need to delete or leave behind?
2. I go through my photos (I take LOTS of photos with my phone) and see what I notice…What has God been up to in my life in the last 12 months?
Often I use Post-It Notes to visually make a list of the things I notice each month.
3. I look back through the events in the world in the past year…What do I need to grieve? What do I need to be grateful for? WHERE AND HOW have I seen God at work? This past year has been another year of great turmoil, uncertainty, and loss. But there has also been beauty, new births, and celebrations! Make a list of the things you need to grieve and give to Jesus to hold. Make a list of things you need to remember that were gifts, good things, things to be grateful for. Take time to thank Jesus.
Consider the Sweet and Sour of the past year….Use the photos (in the links below) to pray with … allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the pain and the sorrow, the beauty, and the joy.
Jonny Baker taught me years ago, to use sweet and sour tastes as a way to remember that Jesus is with us in both the sweet and the sour things of our lives. So find a sweet food and a sour food. PICK A LINK AND REVIEW THE PHOTOS.
What do you notice? What do you need to grieve? What are you grateful for? Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the photos. TAKE TIME TO PRAY with them.
Taste the Sour food…thank Jesus for being with you in the sour things of this past year.
Taste the Sweet food …thank Jesus for being with you in the sweet things of this past year.
Epiphany celebrates the Magi following the star to find the King. They leave their families and friends, to follow the star in darkness, not knowing the way, trusting that the light of the star will guide them. They journey for weeks, maybe months through strange lands with great hope! And they find Him, the King of Kings! At Epiphany, we celebrate that the King is not just for the Jewish family, but for the entire world! And in these crazy times, we all need this LIGHT in our lives!
What is God’s STAR calling you to in 2022?
Even when things don’t look like you expect them to look, are you willing to follow anyway?
In order to follow a Star you usually have to be in the dark. Read the quote below. How does this relate to your life right now? How does this give you hope? Or if it doesn’t give you hope, why not?
“Learning to trust darkness and dreams has given more depth and meaning to my faith journey. Darkness harbors new birth. Endings allow for renewal without overcrowding. Loss is the other side of love. For the upcoming week of reflections, I have chosen passages from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Learning to Walk in the Dark. Rather than the “full solar spirituality” that Taylor describes as the sunny side of faith, certainty of belief, positive answers, and incessant focus on light, I breathe a sigh of relief when the psalmist proclaims “darkness and light are as one to You.” Even death and despair have their place in our journey toward wholeness.
In this season of Epiphany, may we look for the gifts of darkness, of desert loneliness and wilderness times. May we notice what has been hidden in the shadows. May we follow a trembling star to a new place, where the mysteries of life are unfolding in darkness. May we trust the journey ahead. “ –Marjory Zoet Bankson, Editor of InwardOutward.org
THE BLESSING OF LIGHT
May the blessing of light be upon you,
Light without and Light within…
And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From any you meet along the road.
From old Gaelic p. 1091 Celtic Daily Prayer book 2
Join Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin for engaging discussions and timely topics live in the Godspace Light Community Facebook Group. Happening every other Wednesday–join us for the next one on January 19th, 2022 at 9am! Can’t make it live? We post them after on our youtube channel, so you never miss the fun!