Have you ever stayed awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve? I have memories of being a little kid and waiting to watch the ball drop in New York City on the television. My brother and I would try our hardest to stay up the entire night, but often never made it. Around 11:00pm or so, we would inevitably fall asleep on the couch in our living room, surrounded by snacks and drinks from the evening’s festivities. When I would wake up the next morning, something felt different. Something always feels different in January, even though it is difficult to explain.
Perhaps it is the rest we all must take after the winter holiday season. Even if people aren’t celebrating Christmas, the holiday affects the people in our community and the places we all go. After all of that emotion and energy is riled up, many of us need to take some time to rest and recover, to hibernate like some of our animal friends do. For folks in school, you are given a little time off in the beginning of January just for this very reason.
Maybe what feels different is the change in seasons. Winter solstice came last month and the days are beginning to get longer again, the nights getting shorter. Our pace of life changes with the cycles of the day. More daylight often means we are able to stay out later. It also means that hopefully, we will be a little warmer.
Or it could be that the reason we feel something different is because this time of year means new beginnings. The first of January marks the beginning of the year for many of the people living in the United States. Some celebrate the occasion by making a change in their lives. Others take this as a time for reflection on the past year, remembering the joys as well as the heartache. January is a time of rebirth, when we give ourselves permission to try something new, when we acknowledge another year has passed and a new one is beginning.
May you be held in the warmth of this season,
Out of the light and darkness we all come
To rest, to try something different, to be together.
Our hearts are open and ready for newness,
May we remember to draw on this sustaining feeling
For the rest of the year to come.
Amen. Blessed Be. May it be so.