We may all have asked the Question recently, “How did you get over Christmas ?” Almost like “Are you over the flu”!! Christmas isn’t really something we get over, but rather live with throughout this new year 2017.
These days we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. This significant celebration traditionally marks the end of our Christmas season and I am sure that as the month of January continues to move, we have once again returned to the familiar and the routine. The Epiphany tells the story of a group of people who were searching for meaning and purpose in life. They looked beyond conventional religion; in fact their search was fuelled by a puzzling star that shone brightly over an unknown village and an even more insignificant stable, in its surrounding countryside. This bright star revealed to them the beginnings of our Christian story, the birth place of the infant Jesus. This bright star announced a new time, an opportunity for new beginnings and an invitation for all people to be filled with new life, joy and peace. For this reason the message of the Epiphany is a lasting one, throughout the whole year. We are all invited to discover Christ in the familiar and routine places that are our daily lives.
Those who discovered this wonderful moment of joy and peace knew that things would never be the same again. They were told in a dream;
Go home a different way
In the same way when we have a real moment of encounter, our lives are changed for the better. A tendency for us all is to retreat backwards and long for what we once had. This is true in so many ways, as our economy begins to recover, we may well be tempted to return to spending what we can’t really afford. This is a time of opportunity in our church. The bright star that illuminated uncertain pathways, for those seeking to encounter Jesus, can also point us on a pathway of hope and new beginning. This Year 2017, is a wonderful invitation for us all to encounter compassion, reconciliation and peace, gifts that allow us to live more wholesome lives.
I was greatly heartened by the huge numbers of people who attended mass this Christmas. I was also greatly enthused by the generosity of so many to local charities. Our hope comes from the great wealth discovered in a place of poverty and isolation. It is in the midst of poverty and vulnerability that Jesus Christ wants to nourish and sustain us. We are all longing for the bright stars revelation. Our pathway is given direction by the person of Jesus Christ who himself has walked its valleys and hills and felt its hopes and burdens.
These days already are getting that little bit longer, the new light is getting brighter and slowly dispelling the winter darkness. New Year brings with it opportunity. As we face the challenges of our time may we be confident that our God is with us.
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
May we all be blessed with health and peace for 2017. Time moves by too quickly, perhaps the best New Years resolution we might make is to simply take one day at a time.