Epiphany. 6th January. The day when, traditionally, all Christmas decorations are removed – unless excessive needle drop has already made an early departure of the Christmas tree necessary! More importantly, the day celebrates the time when the true identity of the baby Jesus was revealed to the wise men from the East. These men, who were the foremost astrologers/astronomers of their day came, probably, from Babylon and had travelled 550 miles to Jerusalem. What made them undertake such an arduous journey? In the fascinating book by Colin R Nicholl called The Great Christ Comet we learn that the Magi in their studies of the sky found a full celestial nativity drama focused on the constellation Virgo and a great comet that seemed to travel down her ‘body’ and emerge from it. The author also shows how a comet, rather than a ‘star’ could pinpoint a single dwelling like the one in Bethlehem. It is truly amazing to think that the One who ‘fixed the heavens’ in their orbits did so that, at just the right time, in just the right place, signs appeared which showed to the Magi – and ultimately to us all – the wonder of the birth of the Christ child, Immanuel, God with us.
January is for many a month when resolutions are made – promises to ourselves or others to either rectify the “bad” habits that we have acquired during the year/s or the good intentions that we have had but never came to fruition. During the parish Advent course (which continues until the end of January, see note) we have talked about God’s promises that He made from the very beginning of the world and how they have been fulfilled and will be fulfilled one by one. There are no empty promises from God! We have had lively discussions on how we ourselves make promises and have good intentions – and so often fail. For example, our personal notes on Christmas cards “We must get together soon”….. or how we sometimes make promises to our children that are soon forgotten …. Perhaps this is the year when we can fulfill our good intentions whatever they may be? So, should we ‘take up’ rather than ‘give up’ during the coming year???
As we wait for the right person to be appointed to be vicar of St Paul’s Walden with Preston we are fortunate to have the help of visiting priests, both familiar and new to us. Church services can therefore continue as before and these will include Family services and Songs of Praise. All this is possible much thanks to our Reader Dawn and the churchwardens Tim and Malcolm. Many thanks to them for all they do.
Happy New Year,