For so many people, the month of January sometimes brings what is often called the “post-holiday let down.” Others may call it the “January swoon.” In either case, the sentiment is the same. The hustle and bustle of secular Christmas with its light displays and malls filled with frenzied shoppers is over. The sometimes wild and festive celebrations ringing in the New Year are quickly becoming but a fading memory. In fact, some will say that if you are not a college football fan, there isn’t much left to look forward to in January. At least college football fans can look to the January swoon and shout out, “Thanks God for the BCS!” (Bowl Championship Series). If it weren’t for the BCS, what else would there be to look forward to? Thankfully, The Church has something to say about that.
During the time following Christmas, Holy Scripture tells the story of God’s light display come to earth. The season of Christmas concludes with the reading of St. John’s account of God’s Word becoming flesh and dwelling among his people. John writes, “What has become into being through him was the light and life of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1: 4-5).” The Epiphany season begins with the journey of the Magi as they followed a bright new star Bethlehem where they beheld the newborn King. For this reason, Epiphany is called the Season of Light.
The lessons of Epiphany (revealing) are in their own way, Holy Scripture’s BCS (Because Christ Saves), for they tell the world exactly who Jesus is and why he came to earth. During January and throughout the season of Epiphany, we won’t notice radio stations playing extended versions of our favorite carols. There won’t be television specials scheduled in prime time, and we certainly don’t have to worry about purchasing the perfect gift for someone special. We will, however, be witness to many of the greatest stories in the Bible. Christmas may have passed and the novelty of a New Year may soon wear off, but certainly the joy of Christ lives on.
Even as we marvel at the excitement of the shepherds at Christmas, how can we help but feel the excitement and anticipation of Andrew when he tells his brother Peter, “We have found the Messiah!” There might be a new star for us to follow, but certainly we must feel the wonder of those simple fishermen as they dropped everything, accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow him. And finally, even as Luke told us of the starry skies and angels singing “Peace, goodwill to those whom God favors” we listen in Matthew’s gospel as Jesus proclaims God’s blessings and beatitudes during his Sermon on the Mount.
December, with its Christmas and New Year celebrations may be over, but the Church has no time for a January swoon. Through the stories provided by the authors of the gospels, the life, ministry and purpose of Jesus Christ is made known to us. The joy and amazement continues as God’s light and life dwells among his people. As we begin this new year together, I encourage everyone to avoid the post-holiday let down and feel the excitement, peace and promise of Jesus. In January and throughout the seasons of the Church, all are welcome to worship God and sing praise to him for the gift of his Son. Salvation has come to earth! God has kept and continues to keep his promises made so long ago. How can we know this? The answer is clear; BCS! Because Christ Saves!