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Epiphany: A Letter to January

Epiphany: A Letter to January


You are the beginning, the brand new one, the fresh start.

You are the reminder that He makes all things new. I can feel it, the turning over, the closing of doors.

There are too many metaphors.

January, I’ve seen you before. Yet, even you, He makes new.

You are a revolving door, allowing us to walk through, to exit as we wish. You are a pausing, when the past and future coexist.

You, January, I’ve greeted loudly with friends, and quietly at home, and once while dancing in the rain at Walt Disney World.

Anniversaries are good for memories, but they never tell the whole story.

January 6 2004: the day my grandfather died in my home. He was lying in bed next to his only love, my grandma, when he spoke his last conversation: “I feel funny.” “What do you mean you feel funny?” “I don’t know. I just feel funny.”

Then his heart gave out and my grandma started screaming his name: “RUSSEL!” I was watching The Wedding Singer in the living room. My parents ran down the hallway then called the paramedics who jolted my grandfather’s chest while I sat on the couch, holding hands with my grandma.

At my grandfather’s funeral, my brother read a poem called “Epiphany.” He had written it himself. Epiphany: an “aha” moment, or the day the magi met Jesus, and also the day my grandfather met Jesus.

January 2011: my first whole month of motherhood. It’s blurry. I was unprepared, jumping in without a thought of what it meant to be a mother.

I knew not that child in my arms, except that he was helpless, and in that way I knew him fully.

January, I see you. I see your newness. I breathe anticipation. I think of all the things I want to do and be and how I am incapable. I think how every year I live another, and so do many other persons, but not everyone.

January, I see your revolving door, how things look new right now because Christmas has just ended and the new year is coming. We are making resolutions. We are planning how to do better.

But we cannot do better. This year is not fresh. Perhaps we will improve in some things by way of practice, but it is not due to you, January.

We are all the same humans and cannot be made new by the turning of a calendar page or the progression of seasons. We are made new by way of forgiveness and mercy.

Not by works, but by the unfailing love of our God, are we brought from memories to unknowns, a helpless epiphany.

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Everything is Meaningless. Nothing is Meaningless.

Everything is Meaningless. Nothing is Meaningless.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Oh, Ecclesiastes, how I love you. Just. People. Go read it. And read it again.

All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. 

To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 

All things are wearisome, more than one can say. 

The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? 


Whatever I can make, whether a painting or a poem or a sing-songy thing—always out of tune—there is so much of this already in the world. I love to paint and write and craft along, but sometimes I get focused on looking too long at other creations. I think about why I would even try to add my own.

To children, everything is new. The world for them is not crowded or oversaturated, but full of possibilities, and at the same time completely lacking their own originality. My children, and likely yours as well, draw and color and paint and create things all the time with complete abandon. I don’t live anywhere but in my own home and so I cannot truly see anyone else’s home. My home can be cleaned and tidied and organized just like anyone else’s, but I am me, and my children are my children, and so my home is my home, and if you look at it through the lens of anyone else’s ability, my home will become a shadow as well.

As I work out this thought, I am in the sunroom of my home. The sunroom gets almost no sunlight, however (so is completely poetic and a little tragic, in a literary kind of way.) The sunroom is literally and completely one giant shadow. Sitting in this room, I can hear that a neighbor is mowing his lawn. The sound of that homeowner’s work is soothing. It’s the sound of someone else’s mess.

I am reminded that everyone has their own single life, surrounded and supported by others. Lives intermingle but shouldn’t be exchanged, and none is to be compared.

In my home, six people live. Four of them are children. I am the only mom here and I do a disservice to my household if I shrink away from whatever that means to my family—to my home—whatever I am called to—and wherever that may be. Whatever my home looks like, it is and should be different from another’s.

If all the moms were gathered in one place, I might think, “There are too many. I’ll be something else.” But when I stay in my home and look here at my own four children, I am reminded that I am my children’s only mother.

May we all dwell where we are, seeking to live fully in who we are, along the way celebrating each other, and therefore living in the full sunlight of our own lives, away from shadows that seek to darken what was made for absolute glory.

*And may we all read Ecclesiastes and be filled with poetry and wisdom that twirls and seeks only One thing.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash



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