What is your favorite month of the year?
I’m curious – is it January?
If so, perhaps your birthday is in January? Maybe you love crunching numbers, and you cheerfully begin preparing your taxes, right out of the gate? Maybe you are simply giddy while taking those first steps in fulfillment of your New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you thoroughly enjoy skiing on the slopes in January every year?
All that said, I have yet to meet a person who has told me that the first month of the year, by far, is the best of the twelve.
Me? I have a hard time pinning down a favorite, but I know it isn’t January.
I find myself plodding through these days. It has become a dreadful, laborious annual chore. It is damp and dreary outside. January is also the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. I find it quite depressing. Do you feel the same?
Do you know the origins of the word January?
The name comes from Janus, “the Roman god of doors.” I think this is an appropriate image. Why? Well, because I want to slam this door, as soon as I can, right behind me. In a few days, this will have been the case. I can’t wait.
Is there a silver lining to be found in all of this? Well, by enduring this gloomy and dreadful time, I do gain a greater appreciation for what is coming – spring.
There will always be challenges in our lives. I can’t say with certainty that they are all within God’s plan; that each is given roadblocks, purposefully placed in our path, to test our faith.
One thing I do know is that some of these events may be regarded as “curses.” This would include the cold reality of the death of a loved one or health-related issues. When they occur, the last thing a person wants to hear is the following. Yet, I am compelled to say it, because it is true.
At a future date, at an unexpected time, these curses have the capacity of becoming a great positive. God has a way of connecting people, at an opportune time, who have had similar experiences. It is then that sharing your story will be both a comfort to them and an odd, most unexpected blessing for yourself.
So, please keep this door open.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 25 years.