Slap! Slap! Slap! The slow beat of the swan’s wings rang rhythmically across the water of the Loch, as its feet appeared to run across the surface of the water – all in, what appeared to be, a futile attempt to fly. Life can feel like this sometimes. It can take just so much effort, just to do something that should come naturally!

Hogmanay is a great party, but the aftermath can be devastatingly flat. The year stretches out, seemingly endlessly, in front of you, and the next holiday seems so far away.

All is not lost! The Feast of the Epiphany (6th January) is a cause for great celebration for it is the feast that celebrates the great renewal of your life and mine. The cornerstone (Jesus Christ) has been born, and now the peace of two walls comes together, from very different directions, from circumcision and uncircumcision. United and made one by Him who is our Peace.

Friedrich Nietzsche (a German philosopher) once wrote “One must carry chaos within oneself if one wishes to give birth to a star.” This applies not only to individuals, but societies. Fear, would appear to be a key component of life today, and sadly our media appears to magnify these anxieties: Brexit, debt, self-doubt, hopelessness… Life goes on; and possibly this is the issue? Epiphany is a moment of great realisation or revelation. The Feast of the Epiphany is when Jesus was made manifest to you and me. Who knows how long the Magi (Wise Men) had been searching for the ultimate in life. (They had been following just a flickering light of Hope.) In the baby Jesus they found the answer: suddenly, love and mercy had been made manifest! Evil and fear had been swept away by irresistible Love: the Love of God!

We are all on a journey, and January can be a particularly hard month to be travelling through life. Just as the swans struggle hugely to become airborne. When they succeed they are one of the most inspiring sights in nature (remember Sibelius’s 5th Symphony). This can be the case with your life too! Accept yourself as you are. That is how Jesus accepts you and, more importantly, Loves you. Put your Fear aside. Meet your fears. You will find that in dealing with people and situations Jesus will help you, and bring you through. In this way the walls of fear and Love meet, and we find Peace in the cornerstone of Jesus Christ. And you will find beauty in your life as you fly through the year…

“O Father, you are my hope, you are my refuge, O Holy Spirit, you are my protection”

May Jesus bless your life, and bring you contentment.

Yours, in the Love of the New-born King.

Christopher Ketley

Rector of Christ Church, Dalbeattie, & St. Ninian’s, Castle Douglas

Photograph: Wikipedia