The house looks pleasingly spare now, with the Christmas things filed away for another year. I have had enough red and green to last me for a while, and it seems to me that an appealing blankness is just what a new year and a new decade demand: the restoration of ordinariness in the wake of the almost unbearably rich feast that reminds us that life is anything but ordinary.
This is what the Incarnation means: even the most secular of our moments is soaked with holiness. Every last moment of our moments. There's no getting away from it -- God is with us.
And here is what the Epiphany means: anyone who wishes to see this can see it. Absolutely anyone. God is not hiding from us, nor is God closed to any of us. We can all walk a path which will reveal the divine presence to us. For most of us, this happens gradually throughout a life.
And here is what the Baptism of Christ means: the inmost heart and utter wisdom of God is participant in our process of beginning to learn. The very same stumbling journey we make, a journey in which most of the learning that takes place happens through the challenge of learning from our mistakes, is undertaken by the Son of God. Really God and really human. We can't get away from either of those two truths about Jesus when we consider who he is.
Out on the porch, the ropes of evergreen lie on the floor, waiting to become blankets for the garden. I loved the feathery beauty of them when they were up, the way they formed graceful swags between the pillars and around the front door. Now they wait for their orders, the next era in their lives, one in which much of what they do will be hidden. Growth in the garden at this time of year is unseen, a biding of time and a gathering of strength. Time will pass for the garden, as it will for the rest of us. In no time at all, we will be talking about what resurrection means.
Saturday, January 23rd Quiet Day at Christ and St. Stephen's, New York City
"Glorify the Lord, O Chill and Cold"
The weather outside may be frightful, but a small green shoot of spring lies nestled deep in the heart of all that icy brown. There is no better time to ponder the glory of nature than when one is most deprived of it, and that would be January in New York City. Snug and warm, we will look at the ways scripture talks about nature, animals, plants, farming and outer space, and perhaps emerge with a hopeful sense of our own place in God's grand scheme of things. Hot cocoa will be provided.
Registration and directions to Christ & Saint Stephen's can be found at www.csschurch.org.
9:00 am to 3:00 pm A light lunch will be provided. The Quiet Day is free of charge, but ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Telephone: 212 787-2755, ext. 0. Registration deadline is 5:00 pm, Thursday, January 21.