Today in NOTL: Warming today to a high of 37F/3C under partly cloudy skies. Continuing warmer through New Year's Day.
In the church year, Christmas lasts till January 6, when Epiphany begins. To me, that has always meant to keep the tree up and to keep celebrating till the season ends. I hate to see a darkened Christmas tree, and since we spend so much time preparing for the holiday, I like the idea of keeping the joy going.
Spiritually, too, though, the seasons make sense for us. Christmas is when the Light is born - in the world, and hopefully, in us, too. Christmas time, the days after the holiday, is a good time to welcome Love more deeply into our lives. It's a good time, too, to reflect and consider how we hold and spread the light of Love. Even on a secular basis, it's the time to consider preparing for the New Year and therefore a time of reflection and resolution.
Epiphany celebrates the Wise Men finding the Baby and offering their gifts. This season lasts all the way till Ash Wednesday. It's a time liturgically to examine the Gospels and find how God is revealed in Jesus. Spiritually, it's a time for us to take action to follow our path, to shine the light of Love more brightly in our hearts, in our words, in our actions. It's the time that we keep the resolutions we set for the New Year.
The big resolution, for me, is to act on my beliefs. It's so easy to lose sight of the spiritual and fall back into a human way of thinking and feeling. That's how we get locked into fear and anger, and while it's perfectly natural to do so, it's human nature we're trying to see beyond.
I'm reminded of Mrs. Pepper scolding Joel when he complained about wanting to study but yielding to temptation and invitations to play instead. 'I'd be master of myself, at least!' his mother returned, with some scorn, as I recall. She wasn't being ugly, despite the way it sounds to our ears. Back in the day when Margaret Sidney wrote (she died in the early 1920s, I believe), people placed great store on personal discipline.
It was an era in which children grew up on No rather than Yes. The children of that era were members of a generation marked by productivity and economic growth as well as a permissiveness toward their own children, who grew up with significantly more Yes than No. And that generation said No even less to their own children, in turn.
The result? Well, you can look around and judge for yourself. For myself, I'm going to give greater voice to my inner Mamsy and try harder listen to her guidance.
Art today is my attempt to follow the guidance of an artist with whom I've just completed a trade.