Tender Care

| January 6th, 2024

Dear Beloved Community,

December’s whirlwind of presents and parties and performances and places to go are always peppered with complexity. You know them well, I’m sure. “Oh what fun these sparkly days are!”, alongside, “shouldn’t the holidays feel more… joyful?” And “I can’t wait for Christmas Eve!” next to “I can’t bear the thought of *insert beloved Christmas tradition* without *insert profoundly painful loss.*” Dizzying, you might say.

So when January arrives, the confetti is still covering the ground. Christmas leftovers are still in the fridge, and the pine needles are indeed still everywhere. Yet as the days pass and the celebrations of Christmas fade, our calendars and our living rooms can feel oddly sparse. Our ears now hear “try this new workout plan” instead of “try my Christmas cookies.” Our hands are at rest after a busy season, yet still needing to attend to broken dishwashers and overdue emails and the labor that is ours to do. The discomfort of all that’s different and dissonant leaves us longing for a gentle opening to this new year.

Today marks Epiphany, a feast day in the church to celebrate the manifestation, revealing, appearing Jesus that arrived not only in the star pointing the Magi to the manger, but in his Love-revealing life. This Epiphany season, we will draw near to the God who holds us in tender care, resting our weary wintering souls in the soft lap of the Holy One.

As we do, let me ask you to ponder: how can God offer you tender care this winter? How can you extend that same tender care for yourself and for your loved ones? What light is catching your eyes and how are you following it? How are you training your eyes to notice the light of Christ, even right here in the bleak midwinter?

May your Epiphany reveal to you once again the gift and grace of our good and gentle God!

Together in God’s work of Love,
Pastor Emily