Each January I feel bittersweet as I pack up the tree ornaments and Nativities, each one holding a memory of a special person, trip, or time in my life. But while I miss the warm tree lights on these cold winter mornings, I breathe a sigh of relief to have another Christmas season behind me.
January is the quiet time. The days are short, the weather is often dreary. Not much is going on. It is a time to stop and reflect after the hubbub of the holidays.
I find myself appreciating more and more the rhythms of the year. The balmy days of new growth in the spring give way to summer gardens and travel. Then the heat slowly dissipates as the days grow shorter and cooler in the fall when Saturdays are reserved for football and the flowers look bedraggled. Soon Thanksgiving is here, and the mad rush of the Christmas season takes over. And now we are in the calm of winter.
January is a time to focus on inside tasks, cleaning out closets, dusting behind couches, and throwing out what I no longer need from 2022. We won’t mention New Year’s resolutions, but after the indulgences of the holidays, most of us are ready to get back to healthier eating and a regular exercise schedule.
But January is also a time to take a break and rest. The flowers in my garden are snoozing and shoring up energy for their growth in the Spring. I need to do the same.
Even Jesus knew that he and his disciples needed to have a rest sometimes. We read in Mark that they had all been extremely busy, going out to villages, preaching to huge crowds, and casting out demons. Then Jesus gets the news that his cousin John the Baptist has been beheaded. He must have been running on the last of his emotional and spiritual reserves and knows that the disciples feel the same.
Can you relate?
So Jesus says to the disciples:
“Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” They departed in a boat by themselves for a deserted place. (Mark 6:31-32, CEB)
Jesus may be calling you to take a rest. You may not be able to go off in a boat (did I hear cruise?), but you may be able to find a quiet place to revive your soul. Give yourself permission to say no to whatever is draining your energy, even if it is just for an hour or a day.
Take a hint from the plants and spend time in this mid-winter month to rest. Snuggle under a blanket and read a good book. Make a pot of soup. Bundle up and go for a walk, listening to the birds. Take a nap. Write a poem. Watch an old movie. Stretch with some yoga. Play a board game. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. Look through seed catalogs and plan your garden.
Your soul will thank you.
Coming soon, my first book! Moving Beyond: Journeying Through Life’s Changes More info to come!!