Tuesday, 7 January 2020

By another route

January 6th 2020.  Children are going back to school.  Adults are returning to work.  The festive crib is being returned to the attic. Everywhere I've been today, I've heard the phrase 'back to normal', usually preceded by the words, 'it's good to be ...'.

This is Epiphany; the time when the church remembers the visit of the wise men, which, culturally, we often fast forward into our Christmas celebrations. Like countless other children across the land, my grandson, wearing a makeshift crown, carried his precious gold to the crib. Our nativity plays are a much loved part of the season and an important way of bringing the story alive for the youngsters. Rarely enacted though is the place of Herod in the story. Threatened by the news of the birth of a new 'king', he had asked the magi to return to him and tell him exactly where they found the baby Jesus.  

But they didn't.  Instead, warned against this in a dream (because Herod wanted to kill Jesus), they returned home by a new way.  

We thrive on rhythms.  And the different rhythms of Christmas are very disruptive. But let's not forget that Jesus is pretty disruptive too: an encounter with him changes us.  And if we return 'back to normal' too eagerly, maybe we've missed something fundamentally important.  

At the turning of the year, it's worth taking time to ponder:

In what new way might we be being called to carry the presence of Jesus into 2020?

Might God be prompting us to 'return to normal' by a 'new route'?

Happy pondering ... and my best wishes to you all for your journeying with Jesus in this coming year.