One Door at a Time
The month of January brings to mind new beginnings, a time of firsts. The root of the Latin word for January (Ianuarius) comes from the Latin word for door (ianua). January, the “door” into the new year, is when we often feel compelled to invoke resolutions on how we will better ourselves: lose weight, consume less caffeine (as if!), pay down debt, learn to live with less…you get the point. The problem with fulfilling these intentions is we (myself included) neglect to make the commitments that are essential to making changes. And we’re not alone. Statistics show that 92 percent of people who make resolutions don’t keep them.
I believe we’d like to keep our commitments, but change is uncomfortable and sometimes the paths to it are peppered with potholes of anxiety. We tend to gravitate toward the smoothest route. You know, the familiar one that’s well-paved, neatly marked.
Each year we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. This year it’s on January 8. It is one of the oldest Christian feasts. First celebrated at the end of the second century before the Christmas holiday was established, Epiphany commemorates two firsts, both of which highlight the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity: the three kings’ visit to Jesus as an infant in Bethlehem and his baptism by John the Baptist.
These events were doors into the life and ministry of Jesus. They marked new beginnings. In light of our understanding of Jesus’ fully human and fully divine nature, we can conclude that his path included spiritual potholes like adversity and angst. So we shouldn’t be surprised when our own road is rocky.
As we enter 2017, many doors will stand before us. The ones we open and pass through will lead us down paths that are both familiar and brand-new. To ease the stress of the unknown and the fear that often accompanies new beginnings, consider the advice of St. Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”