It was Epiphany again yesterday.
The first 7 days of the year. I’ve had a few new encounters, seen a few new places; but also met people I know, and returned to places I’ve been.
There is a sense of new in the old, and old in the new. Of beginnings (a bit more obvious), and of endings (less clear).
A New Year’s habit to open with journalling. A favourite nearby place for last-minute family dinners out. A letter to faraway friends, delayed for a year. A moment of regret about some relationships. A morning rehearsal that was rushed and messy – as usual. A sketch, after pondering the morning’s passage and start of a new sermon series. A serene space which I last stepped into just before Advent. A reminder of a stronghold in the background. A visit to the Eye Clinic, with a view of big ships in the distance. They are old, and yet new.
Phone calls and emails, for new ideas. A fresh perspective on reasons for this season. A new baby caterpillar who sleeps most of the time. A new salad counter, unexpectedly in an ordinary supermarket. A new journey, reading about Friendship. Trying new food. Catching a new dawn one morning. They are new, yet somehow familiar.
“The idea that we cannot go back the way we have come is an important spiritual metaphor: having encountered the Christ-child, we can never just go back. Even if we return to the same life, we find that it has somehow changed. This is by no means a new idea. Pope Leo the Great wrote that the change of plan in the magis’ journey home was not only to baffle Herod’s murderous plan, but also that ‘it behoved them now that they believed in Christ not to walk in the paths of their old line of life, but having entered on a new way to keep away from the errors they had left.’
… (an image of God’s interaction with us during times of change) – the idea that there is always the possibility of new avenues opening up for us, and also that when change comes at us like an alarm bell, unsought and unwelcome, God provides guidance through the stress… The nativity story does not have a neatly tied-up ending, but a rather dramatic exit into the unknown, the only certainty being that there will never be a return to business as usual. … It is an uncertainty that is full of hope, for it is also the promise of new beginnings.” – Beginnings and Endings. 6 January. Maggi Dawn