January’s Joys

Happy New Year! I hope you had a blessed Christmas and spent the day with loved ones. Two of my favorite parts of Christmas 2017 were having a white Christmas, something I long for every year, and seeing a dear friend in church on Christmas Eve. She and her family drove home for Christmas without telling anyone but her mom. Imagine my surprise when her daughters meandered their way into our pew on Christmas Eve. They wanted to sit with my daughter. What a blessing.

Fallowfield United Methodist Church carolers sang Christmas carols to two residents at St. Paul’s and to seven people in their own homes on December 18. Everyone we visited seemed to enjoy the music, and we surely enjoyed singing to them. Seeing faces light up as we sang favorite carols was the best part.

I truly feel like I’m worshiping God from my heart when I sing Christmas hymns. We sang “Angels We Have Heard on High” as our closing hymn on Christmas Eve. I imagined Jesus on his throne as we sang “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger. He sits on his throne at the right hand of God. He “…Lives to make intercession for [us].” (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV) In other words, he’s praying for you and me at this very moment. It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Christmas season is packed with expectation. Now that it’s past, what is there to look forward to in January? I have a few ideas.

1. Spectacular sunsets. I’ve noticed the most gorgeous sunsets between December and February. Keep a look out at dusk and get your camera ready. Gorgeous rose, orange, baby blue and sapphire light will paint the sky as the sun sets.

2. Birds. Watch for cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees, mourning doves, and even eagles. Set out some black oil sunflower seeds and a suet cake and birds will literally flock to your property. I actually caught sight of a pileated woodpecker two weeks ago.

3. More daylight. From now until mid-June the days are getting longer. This is just about my favorite thing to look forward to.

4. Excuses to stay inside and read a good book, sip a cup of your favorite hot drink, and snuggle in a cozy blanket. Why not try reading a chapter of The Bible every morning? That’s how I got started reading the Bible myself. My mom read it to me as a child, but when I was 15 a church member challenged the congregation to read a chapter of the Bible every day until we’d read it through. I accepted his challenge. It took me several years, but I did finally finish it. Trust me, you’ll never read a more important book. It’s life-changing, timeless, and fresh with every reading. I’ve often had a verse leap out at me at critical times in my life, giving me the answer I needed.

5. Opportunities to watch the movies you’ve put off until the hectic Christmas schedule dies down. Now’s your chance.

6. Winter sports. If you like basketball and wrestling, you’ll have ample opportunities to cheer on local athletes. It’s a good reason to get out of the house, and you might get to see some friends.

However you spend this week, I hope you put at least one of my suggestions to use. Blessings!