I think that it’s a good time of the year to “withdraw” a little.
As I’m writing this there sits on my desk waiting for my attention the remnants of this week’s sermon to finish. But it caught my attention that, in the opening sentence of the Gospel lesson for the week, “Now when Jesus heard that John (the Baptizer) had been arrested and thrown into prison, he withdrew to Galilee.”
Seems that there’s a time for doing such things.
Maybe the idea seems so appropriate for today because the intensity of Advent/Christmas/New Year is behind us. If you’re like me you didn’t just stop and stay in that moment of Luke 2 for a while. There’s a little time between now and when the seasons of Lent/Easter are upon us. But not much! Ash Wednesday is at the end of the month – on the 26th. And the month of February is in general a little more quiet, so there’s time to reflect, regroup and look ahead. Maybe to start something new.
But that’s not what I’m suggesting. That we go out and start something new. At least not on purpose.
We just received this Gift. As we remembered the gift of God in flesh, we again heard and saw with those so many centuries ago the fulfillment of a promise that stirs the deepest parts of us. A promise that God gave to the world at the beginning of time, but that the world often ignores. It might have been especially hard to avoid the distractions that are so easily added to the season. Maybe by the world around us. Or maybe we added the distractions ourselves.
It might be a good time to just withdraw. To take a slice of that other gift – time – and quietly live in the deep joy that this Gift brings.
“For unto you is born . . .”