January Light

Is it January?  Really?  2012?  Really?  I feel as if I’m coming out of a giant cave—a cave where we’ve just been having a wonderful two-week party.  And I’m blinking into the light of a whole new year.  A whole new world.

Our house has just emptied out after 16 days of glorious chaos.  In overlapping visits, all our kids and grandkids were here to celebrate Christmas.  Such joy.  The house was full of Pack’n Plays and sleeping bags (there were 6 kids 6 and under), bouncers and blocks, Pampers and puzzles.  There were tunnels to crawl through in the basement, elaborate track designs on the train table, and hide and seek all over the house.  There was almost always someone hiding in the pantry.

But the last flight has taken off, the toys are put away, the tree and all the decorations are down, and the house is quiet.  Very, very quiet.  And empty.  Way too empty. It’s January.

But there’s still that “certain slant of light” I wrote about earlier.  Each morning as I have my quiet time (very, very quiet time), I see it slanting in across the mantle where the manger scene was.  (Full disclosure: I don’t actually see sunshine every morning in Wisconsin.  Today it is gray and snowy, and the sun didn’t quite make it through.  But still, I know it’s there.)

A while back I wrote about being mesmerized by the light of Christmas.  Well, it turns out it’s still here to light our way into the new year.  It may not appear quite as glamorous after Christmas.  But it seems I need it all the more in January.

And that’s the great news.  The Light that came with Christmas shines right on into January—and way beyond.  The Babe born in the manger didn’t stay there, waiting to be safely tucked away with the nativity set until next Christmas.  That was only the beginning for the story.  Thanks to our redemptive God, the Light that came into the world at Christmas became our Light for all the days and weeks and months of the year.

Maybe especially for January, with all of its newness and uncertainty and unknowns.  The little chalkboard in our kitchen still bears its Advent message: He is coming! I need to update it.  He has come, “that true Light that gives Light to everyone.” (John 1:9)  And now He calls us to walk in that light : “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)

Even in January.