I had given myself “permission” not to write. It is a holiday, after all, the first day of 2019. My eyes opened a few minutes before my alarm; if not entirely rested, I am awake. With a song running through my head.
the Love, that gives you strength
from day to day,
it will never lose its power
That is my answer for today. A promise for the new year. A reason to get out of bed. Get some coffee. Notice the light dusting of snow.
There are more promises in scripture this morning. More good news. God gave Moses a blessing to give to Aaron to give to the Israelites. This is how you shall bless them:
The Lord bless you and protect you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace. Numbers 6:24-26(CEB)
Savor the words with which to bless each other. Feel the blessing, extend the blessing, be to each other the blessing of grace and peace. I imagine a day where people go around greeting each other with these words for the new year. Stopping on the street to pronounce blessing over a friend. Or a stranger.
Recent reflections have opened my eyes to see familiar scriptures through the lens of community. When there was no space for the pregnant Mary and husband Joseph in the guest room, they were likely taken into the family’s living quarters with the valuable animals nearby for warmth and care. I see the shepherds giving their message to a packed house:
And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:18(NASB)
I imagine Mary- not refused, but surrounded by this newfound extended family- pondering these things in her heart. Likely there was little alone time during those first eight days before the bris. I try to imagine the ceremony in the nearby synagogue, part of the morning prayer service. Not their own rabbi in Nazareth, but a familiar celebration of naming, enfolding them into the Bethlehem community of the faithful.
A new year is a good time to contemplate our place in community- individuals, families, friends, and faith. Perhaps also with a few beloved animals nearby. What gives us strength from day to day? I look up the original lyrics– the understanding of life as blood flowing from Jesus through us. The words for me were clear this morning- the Love that gives me strength from day to day.
It reaches to the highest mountain
And it flows to the lowest valley
May Love give us strength today. To bless and be blessed. To enter into the embrace of community, pondering these things in our hearts. To grant grace and speak peace.
Happy New Year. 2019.