A Happy New Year to you. Is your Christmas tree safely packed away in the loft? Should you be more ecologically conscious, maybe it’s planted out in the garden or mulched down? Are the decorations neatly stowed away, those last crumbs of Christmas cake eaten (and new diet begun)? We always have a rogue decoration that escapes the grand cleanup, of course, only for it to surface later as we scan the landscape as if we’re playing some alternative version of ‘Where’s Wally?’
Though if your church tradition follows a liturgical cycle, you might still have your nativity scene on display. In our house, it stays out until Candlemas; Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the end of the Epiphany Season. The Shepherds hurry back to their flocks and the Magi have arrived. ‘
‘Epiphany Dance’ said Google in their suggestions menu when I looked up the festival just now. I love that image : a kaleidoscope of light and jewel-like colours lightening the darkness of what can be – for all kinds of reasons, a bleak time of year.
Lightening, yet intermingling with the darkness; for Herod is closing in. The conclusion of the visit shows the Holy Family fleeing for their lives as the curtain lifts on the next scene of the liturgical drama: The Massacre of the Holy Innocents. The scene is set. On whatever level you choose to understand this account, it’s not difficult to draw parallels with our world now. You only have to watch the News to know that darkness is ever- present.
I worked on the above picture during the holiday season; partly as a celebration, yet also as a means of sitting with those raw emotions and cycles of ups and downs that inevitably arise for me on such occasions. Just the simple act of doing something with my hands helps me quieten the monkey mind, (provided I dwell on the process and quit worrying about my lack of ability and the ‘need’ to ‘produce!) Quietening helps me focus on the moment, to stay with whatever arises for me without being pulled away into those spirals of negativity. The act of creation creates a holding space: a space where I can safely acknowledge, yet not suppress my feelings.
Oh, and to be more succinct – it can be fun!