A month to reflect upon the past, January sparkles with new possibilities
Celebrating the new year has occurred since humanity began measuring the passage of time. The date of that celebration varied depending on the culture and measuring instrument:
- Something terrestrial like a river’s annual flooding (Egypt)
- or celestial like the spring equinox (Babylon)
- or the fall equinox (Celts),
- or summer solstice (Greece)
- or winter solstice (Rome)
Regardless of the era or society, these celebrations were times of both reflection on the past and anticipation of the future.
The name of this first month is a clue to the duality of new year celebrations. January comes from Janus, the Roman god of gates, doorways, beginnings, and transitions who has one face looking backward and the other looking forward. The Celts speak of “thin places” where the mundane and the numinous overlap, of locations where heaven and earth intersect, of portals between this world and the next.
As surely as there are “thin places” there are also “thin times” where temporality and eternity intermingle. January is a “thin time” where this new month sparkles with new possibilities. It is why resolutions are made in this time, unhindered by the failures of a fading past and empowered by the energies of an unrestricted future. The ancient Babylonians began the custom of new year’s resolutions; the most popular one wasn’t weight loss but returning used farm equipment.
As we stand on this freshly poured threshold of time, let us consider what of 2021 we take into 2022 and what we leave behind. Pausing at this portal, our choices can encumber or empower us. Traveling companions help us to reflect on the past and anticipate the future. Developing habits of patience, hope, and trust as we move forward is important.
How can the power of this “thin time” be directed to better ourselves and our community?
Rev Sybrant has a Masters in Divinity, Social Work, and a Doctor of Ministry. For more information, visit us at 15050 SW Weir Road www.murrayhills.org | 503-524-5230