A Word of Encouragement

It’s January.

Christmas has come and gone.

Epiphany is in its Octave but will soon pass and while we will still be in Christmastide until Candlemas, the weeks of winter can drag slow and dreary for mothers and children alike.

Here, I think, is an opportunity to lean into grace and particularly the grace of exercising our wills in choosing cheerfulness and joy and emanating that atmosphere in our homes. Yes, the days are short and grey and the nights long and cold. Yes, we all feel the let down that comes after days of celebration. We are meant to feel those things. We are meant to walk through Christ’s life of service through to Lent and Penitence and only then onward to Easter Joy! Our seasonal and liturgical life mirrors His Life and His Life was fully human. Full of the opportunity to be discouraged, tired, and depressed. Full of the weariness that comes with a hard slog through the Judean hills (for Him) and a never ending pile of laundry and dishes (for us). Being “weary unto death” is not sin! Feeling like the work we are doing is futile and will just have to be repeated tomorrow is not sin! We see Christ in the Gospels tired, discouraged, irritated, and in need of the rest of the Spirit and of just being left alone for a bit. We see too that He was able to still serve and love in those circumstances out of His perfect humanity.

The junk pile behind the house! What better symbol of the sludge of the winter months?

I sometimes think “Oh of course, Jesus, could feed the five thousand kindly and patiently even when He was weary. He’s God.” That’s true, but in re-reading the passage recently I was struck by this thought. Christ asks the disciples what there is to eat, takes the food, prays to His Father asking for His blessing on the food and THEN the loaves and fishes multiply. He serves in His humanity and His human soul with its perfect trust in the goodness of the GOOD God is open to the GOOD God’s blessing when and how it comes. It’s not ” He was God so He did a miracle” but ” He was fully human with perfect trust in His Father and His Father worked through Him.”

Ah! This gives hope! If Christ could trust and let the Father work through Him, so can I lean into grace, be open to the Spirit and let the Father work through me in feeding my small tribe the 5,000 meals they want and need. First, I must see them with compassion then trust that God in His Goodness (not that He does Good but that He IS Good) will provide not just what is needed for physical strength but also what is needed for spiritual strength for the journey of the day.

January and February are for us a kind of travel through the dusty, hot, Judean hills. The way is long, the work is hard and yet “His grace is sufficient in our weakness”

Christmas Cactus: Joy found in small things
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