The Christmas holidays are over, and we are into the new year.
A new year, new hopes and possibilities, and perhaps some anxieties about the future. The children are back to school after their Christmas break, offices and shops opening, and most of us settling back into our regular routine.
Does anyone still make New Year Resolutions? Last year, I was sent a photograph of a friend of mine next to a list of resolutions, about a week into the new year. Two thirds of them had already been crossed off the list – did that mean he had accomplished many things, or just given up on his resolutions?
The church calendar celebrates twelve days of Christmas, beginning on 25th December. Then 6th January is the Feast of Epiphany, when we remember the wise men who came from the East to visit the baby Jesus and bring him gifts. Traditionally we think of three wise men, because they brought three gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh), but no number is mentioned in the New Testament – so it could have been many more.
These were three men from outside the nation of Israel who travelled a great distance, probably from modern Iran, to acknowledge Jesus as the promised King.
The Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on the 6th January, with great solemnity and pageantry.
The next “commercial” festival featured in our shopping calendar seems to be Valentine’s Day, 14th February. Like other similar events, it may be abused, but should be seen as a celebration of what is best in human love.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2020.
Rev Linda Lubbe
Associate priest in the Mundford, Hilborough and Oxborough groups of churches.