by Corrie Cabes
By the time this Lay Reader issue is published, there will be few visible reminders of Christmas. Perhaps a straggly red ribbon fluttering in a neighbor’s yard will catch our eye. A poinsettia hanging on by a thread is now tucked up high on top of the refrigerator, a bit out of sight. The sights and smells of the season, candles, fresh pine, Christmas baking...all of this seems to be quickly fading into memory.
We celebrate this very intimate moment at Christmas, drawing close to the manger, to take in the power and the glory of the coming of our Savior Jesus. This is like a mountaintop moment for us as believers, that God would draw so near to us.
But what do we do when Christmas and the new year leave us feeling deflated, lonely, or a bit lost? Did the shepherds and the wise men experience something similar as they realized they could not stay in this wondrous place? We soon recognize that life and our faith call us to keep moving as well.
Even Jesus experienced great highs and lows in life. Perhaps that’s why he would go up to the high places, to the mountains. To seek and find God. All the while knowing that just as he trod up the hill, he would have to return, to go down to places where there would be good times and bad times, and everything in between.
In this new year, we celebrate Epiphany, where God shows up, revealing great love and holy presence. We will see in scripture that Jesus will grow and begin his ministry. God will continue to be known to us in the way our Lord patterns his life and this calls us to walk in his footsteps.
Perhaps we can look to Jesus, embracing those mountaintop moments in our life with thanksgiving, and see the “walk down the hill” as holy too.
We don’t always know what is next for us, but we can count on God to meet us on our journey. That’s good news for this new year.
We are currently spending Epiphany wrapped up in passages from Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Walking in the Dark. Each Sunday session, we are looking for the different ways God is still breaking into our lives, even as we may be experiencing uncertainty, grief, or change. We’ll make time for good conversation and maybe a few mountaintop revelations. No matter what, we are leaving a bit different, and better because of the journey.
Questions for continuing the walk of faith:
Where are you finding God in the ordinary?
In the spaces that may feel hollow?
What is your view like “from the mountain” or the “valley below?”