Today is gray – an appropriate color for January. The temperature is just chilly enough to require an extra layer but as not as numbing as earlier in the month.

January can be a cold, lonely slough. I need company.

There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues. ~Hal Borland (1900–1978)

No, I need more than a catalogue!

Christmas was almost a month ago. Spring is about two months out: long enough so that a mental health day at the local nursery doesn’t make sense . . . yet.

The good news is the life of the batteries we used to power our decorations haven’t exhausted themselves. Moreover, the real arrangement of greens survives, and still twinkles with a string of LED lights.

Light in January

So, Christmas is not wholly gone here — holiday lights are almost as hard to pack away as the music of Christmas. The lights and John Rutter’s arrangements of the carols and seasonal songs are the help I need! Sweet, warm; the lyrics are filled with hope and anticipation. And theology: a solid companion in grayness.

Studying God isn’t just for splitting theological hairs, based on archaic texts. It’s taking God at His word, in His word, and applying it to all I see. Theology is looking all around and seeing what I can see; hearing what I can hear and gleaning wisdom and courage to keep on keeping on.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lights and music are good and brave companions on scary sloughs!

The cover of one CD, The Colors of Christmas, seems more apropos of January, than Christmas. It captures the muted grays and whites of the frosty downside of winter.


January Colors of Christmas

The melodies and words  exude beauty, excitement, worship, and peace. While I listen and read the verses, joy welcomes being unwrapped again in the various melodies. Some carols are in languages I don’t know — but the longing to behold God in the flesh is without borders.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Savior, did come for to die,
To save lowly people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

As January winds down, what do I wonder about as I wander about my day? Like Martha, I am worried and upset over many things. Most of which I can do nothing to change.

Except, I can pray.

I read the third and fourth verses of many carols which  urge me to remember the manger is empty for a reason. Christ had to be about His father’s business: rescuing, redeeming, and restoring the lost. (Luke 15 – yes I camp there a lot!)

Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray;
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

The New Year has had a rough start; world and local news is disheartening, and friends are hurting. Be near Lord Jesus – I ask Thee to stay close by those I love, and especially close by those who bewilder me.

The third and fourth verses of best-loved Christmas carols urge me to do what Frederick Buechner advises:

“Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You”

Where will my best prayers take me today? Where will you go with yours, dear reader?


A Prescription for January

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