Updated: Apr 17
January Schmanuary. The month feels like it has already lasted for 65 days, about since last October, and it has still got nearly 2 weeks to go. February, a similarly gnarly month at least has the decency to only last 28 days in general. I am not a fan, as you might have gathered. My birthday is at the beginning of the month. Frankly it is all downhill after that.
The month allows me and many others around to legitimately moan about everything. Because it’s January. The trains are rubbish… because it’s January. Kids are sick… well, it IS January. People aren’t co-operating at work – well, it is January, you know. It’s kind of a unanimously accepted, luxurious excuse, reason and rationale for everything to go wrong and badly.
But. This week, one day, everything didn’t go wrong for me. The kids were not in any danger of any kind, and hadn’t developed into drug addicts before the age of 10. The sun was out and glorious. My work brought me much interest and fulfilment. And I panicked. Because this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. January was not supposed to bring joy. I started to think that something was going to go very badly wrong if everything was this right for a brief spell in January.
I think as Christians there is sometimes a temptation for us to be continual Januaryers. We may find it suspicious when things go well. It’s much easier to think that because we aren’t perfect, and have made mistakes, things are supposed to go badly and it’s more comforting and fits our picture of the world when they do. Those who have financial success, a good marriage, a fulfilling job have surely broken some of the rules.. they can’t be proper Christians, surely?
What might happen if Christians set out to admire and affirm those within their midst who have experienced success and fulfillment, folk who did bring their A game and it paid off? What might that church look like? Of course, there are those who do make massive efforts and don’t encounter the success they wish for. Our sympathies are naturally with them, and indeed somehow we find it easier to cope with them.
God wants us to experience life in its fullest, brightest most complete version. I absolutely believe that. There will be hard days, slow hours and devastating times – and that is part of the experience. But when you have done the hard work, made the effort and covered all the bases and for a short while, it all seems to have paid off, I’m going to try to savour it. Not be suspicious of it, feel guilty that all is well, or wait for the catch. Joy and satisfaction are definitely part of God’s picture. Even in January.