January is a dark time of year in North America, there's no getting around it. Here in Pennsylvania it's usually a dreary time of year, often wet, icy, snowy, and muddy, overcast and cold. After Christmas can likewise be dark as the lights are put away, the trees put away, the joy of the season faded away, and many people find themselves left with a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, or uncertainty.
Right now, for many people it feels like a time of darkness and uncertainty in our country. It's frightening to turn on the news and hear about the possibility of war. It's frightening to think about a President being impeached. It's uncertain who is right and wrong, and what to think. My heart goes out to the older members of our IHS congregation who express being unable to keep up with the changes, differences, and the breakneck pace of life in the 21st century.
In all this darkness, the Church celebrates the Epiphany Light. It is no coincidence that we celebrate Epiphany as the season of light in January, these traditions of the Church were developed in medieval Europe. Epiphany season celebrates the Divinity of Jesus as revealed primarily in three principal ways: in the visit of the Magi to the young Jesus, following the star and bringing him gifts, the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River, and the first miracle of the Wedding of Canaa.
Celebrating the light of the Divinity of Jesus, the Revelation of God to us and with us, is not to the exclusion of the darkness of the world. In fact John's Gospel reminds us that it is into darkness that the Light of Jesus entered and shines. The Divinity of Jesus the Christ is good news for us because it shines in the darkness of the world and our lives and enters into our hearts, his Divinity for us and in us, lifting us up out of darkness into the Light of God.
During the darkness of this January, his Light is available for you. I invite you to consider discovering that Light in prayer. There's a long tradition of discovering the Light of God in the interior life of prayer. You may read that and think, you have no idea where to begin searching for that Light. To that I answer, the Light itself is God, and God's Revelation to you, and God longs to be found there. We are all being invited to find God in the stillness of a prayerful heart.
This January, I invite you to set some time aside for prayer. You may not know what to say or how to say it. You need not say anything at all. But turn inward to find God's Light placed into your heart as someone made in God's image and filled with his own Spirit in your baptism. In the words of Theresa of Avila:
“Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”
May you find the Light of Jesus this Epiphany and always.