Saturday, January 9, 2016

Epiphanies and Resolutions

I love the Feast of Epiphany . . . and not just because I can take my tree down, which I still haven't. I love Epiphany because it reminds me that each of us has something to offer by way of sacrifice or, in a timely way, by resolution. As Father Michael talked Sunday about renewing our relationship with God, I kept thinking about the verses of "In the Bleak Midwinter:"

What can I bring him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; 
If I were a wise man, I would do my part; 
Yet what I can, I give him . . .
Give my heart. 

You know me. I'm prone to sentimentality and over-sincerity. It's part weakness and part dramatic behavior. I'm so attracted to the drama in it. I love the image of first the humble shepherd then the stately wise man and then myself, pulsing heart in hand. It's quite the picture.

It truly is my best self who comes forward at the first of the year with promises and resolutions. I mean them. I mean to keep them and, as I mentioned recently, I make them with eyes wide open  -- in at least as much as I am able to be open minded about myself.

Someone -- and I truly don't remember whom -- told me that Christians don't need to make resolutions. They are always on their knees in front of the crucifix doing their best and making amends for their failings.

This is not true of me. I grew up at the altar of the church; I am well schooled in the Christian way of life. Throughout my life I was often told, "you need to have more faith," "you need to forgive," you need to "Let go and let God." And I never disagreed. These things, I knew, were true and would be helpful. Yet, my constant inner response was, "YBH. Yes, but how?"

Herein lies the beauty of aging. We learn things. Through various means and methods and a lot of "hard knock" schooling in the always truthful, School of Life, I have found the YBH. I have learned to have faith, to forgive, to surrender.

Resolutions are one of the vehicles that deliver the YBH to me. They are the wheels on the vehicle of faith that, in the next twelve months, will help me end the year a happier, healthier, and, well, better person. In a few weeks when Lent comes around, I'll get to recommit, tweak and renew those resolutions in the form of Lenten sacrifices. There is much learning and living to be had in the quest to reach those goals.

So if you are a resolutionist, or never have been, it's not too late! Consider taking a little time this month to look at your year just past and the one laying ahead, shining with hope and promise, and consider what will help you get to the end of it with a heart full of love and gratitude.

Let me know how it works for you!

PS - If you're interested, I just made my New Year's Resolutions and you can find them here.

I write about resolutions most years and often more than once!. Here are several of those posts:

New Resolutions:

2015: More is More, Less is More and More is Better!
2014: Six Word Resolutions to Write on the Clean Slate
2013: Resolutionary Manifesto
2012: A Single Resolution
2011: New Year's Revolution
2010: Resolution Revolution
2009: God on Speed Dial

Taking Stock Along the Way:

Dec 2015: The Un-listened to "Provided That"
Dec 2014: A Change of Face
Feb 2014: Resolution Reality Check
Jan 2013: Hope for my Resolutions

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