Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany: Fully Present in the Now for the New Year

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:13)

Epiphany is about light—God shining into the world in Christ Jesus. We celebrate it immediately after Christmas, and this is very appropriate for the beginning of the New Year.

Holding on to light is so important. Although the winter nights are dark, cold and long, each day adds a minute or so of sunlight to each morning and each evening. Although the change is slow, we begin to notice in January how much more light we have. It gives us hope. As the light shines longer, the sun’s rays become ever stronger, until the snow gives way and spring finally arrives.

In our spiritual lives, progress is also generally slow. While we occasionally get a growth spurt—especially as young believers—most of the Christian life is steady faithful progress. We need to hold on to light and hope during the slow process. We need to walk in the light and see it take over our lives a few minutes more each day.

Present in the Now
Walking in the light this New Year for me entails living fully present in the now. So often I am not present in the now. Physically here, my mind is a million miles away, which keeps me from enjoying the moment and all the goodness that God has for me today.

If I am not here mentally, then where am I? Most often I am off in the future—planning projects in my mind. Sometimes I am worrying about responsibilities, events or people. To enter the here and now, I must set aside my “strategic planning” side. There is, of course, a time and place for organizing my schedule and taking care of responsibilities. But I do not want the “planning table” to be the only place I live my life.

On other occasions, instead of being in the present, I’m focused on the past. I am arguing mentally with someone who I would like to set straight. Or, I am regretting something that I did or failed to do. Most often, if I am stuck in the past, I am missing a wonderful time I had somewhere or time I spent with someone close to me.

Ironically, those wonderful times that I miss are the times when I was fully present to the moment. Being in the now is largely what made them so memorable!

Right Here, Right Now

Instead of daydreaming about the past and wishing I could be back there, why not become fully present to the here and now? This moment—this place—has all the potential to be another wonderful time.

The present is available to be lived to the fullest. It has the potential to be one of those completely alive moments when I am fully connected with the Lord, with others, with myself and with all that surrounds me. Right where I am, I can tap into that same wonderfulness by becoming fully present to the moment. I can bring my full attention, my whole consciousness, to what God has for me in the moment.

Each day this year I want to walk in the light. Rather than reminiscing about the past or planning out the future, I want to live fully in the moment. In the present moment, I can bask in God’s light for me right now!

© 2012 Glenn E. Myers

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