It's true. I've come to love January. Some people get it, others are feeling a letdown after the Christmas holiday highs. And I admit that I came to love January after moving south where the sun makes frequent appearances in the dead of winter (although this year is turning out to be much colder than usual).
Still, the beauty of this time of year exists even in Chicago (where I began this week, supporting Nicole as she made a new recording of "Witness").
New. Hope. Clean. Open. Spare. Simple.
Christmas decor comes down, and the house feels a new spaciousness. I am motivated to clean out things accumulated and paint a wall or two. The calendar isn't (yet) cluttered, and sometimes I just like to look at it and enjoy the empty.
If you think about it, it makes sense: If Christmas is Hope entering, then January should be Life Transformed by that Hope.
I want to be transformed. From the inside out.
The visible, external displays of change in a new year are reminders of that, I suppose...and lift spirits, even when the cold is not yet lifted.
But not empty, feel-good-for-the-moment hope. Last year at this time I wrote about daring to be a fool. Living with courage. Swinging the bat. All of which has not been in my nature. The transformation that began January carried through 2009 - not in my own strength - but through the propelling spirit of God breathing wind behind my back, diminishing the face of fear. You have also been a part of that story. And I am not the same.
The promise of spring is in my veins. Far off yet, but guaranteed.
Hope and Peace to you, my friends. In with the new!