I'd like to say I "can't believe" I haven't blogged for two months, but unfortunately, I can well believe myself capable of getting so behind with it! Sorry to the invisible footfallers who may have given up on me by now. You can guess what at least one of my New Year's resolutions is, blog-wise.
It's already January 6th and with Epiphany celebrated today, the New Year is already well started. "Well begun is half done" is a saying I've always had a bit of trouble with!
Jesus' family didn't have the luxury of procrastination after the visit of the Magi we remember today. For them, it was the urgent misery of having to flee for their lives away from the malevolent intentions of the ruling powers, as Herod thundered threats against the firstborn children of Israel.
As people all over this land pack away the tinsel and tree decorations for another year, there are urgent fears in so many hearts, that we may long to flee from, but know we must ultimately embrace. Jesus escaped Herod for that season to live and do his work of love, but knew the road to freedom also led to the Cross.
Changing times of austerity and profound disillusion, as well as the ongoing suffering and grief of our fellow travellers in every curved corner of the globe, might beckon us to despair or cold cynicism if we could not trust in our Father with the quiet strength and vulnerability of that child in his mother's arms on the donkey trek towards a life of costly love.
A friend once gave me a card with this quote from Saint Teresa of Avila. I always keep this vision close to my heart when faced with the darkness of fears and "impossibilities", and a future that seems uncertain if we concentrate solely on the situation in our foreground:
Let nothing disturb you,
Nothing frighten you;
All things are passing;
God never changes;
Attains to all things;
Who God possesses
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God suffices.
I believe with all my heart that this isn't just a naive wish skipping through cloud cuckoo land. It looks the cruelties and injustices of the human condition right in the eye and motors forward with determination and grit founded on a truth too wonderful to dissect or explain away. Others will find other ways to cope and live, of course, as they choose, but this is the way I've chosen, the Way who speaks to me and calls my name through the weeping.
It's what I pray for all my friends this New Year.
May your 2011 be blessed and bolstered by the touch of the One who loves you more than you can believe.