The quiet loves the cold

It follows where she wanders.

And in their union

Sound and touch conceive the mist

Outgrowing both, another sense

As sight is added to the clan.

Last of all the snow arrives

By night, heavyweight and silent

And all we thought we knew looks new.

The Fort is as quiet as it gets. The calm brought on by shops closing for the first week in January, families stretching their last days together on holiday, and the cold. The frost and mist bring a silence that dampens any echo bouncing round the place. As of this morning we saw our first dusting of snow. Though slight, that white insulation still settled on roads, in trees and lampposts. Even the geese seemed more serene in honour of it.

The season of Epiphany is nearly upon us. Christmas, technically, is still on going (January 6 it’s conclusion, hence “The 12 Days of Christmas”) but many have already rushed passed it. We tend to press into the new and shiny year swiftly after Christmas, but historically Christians have taken the coming season to contemplate the magnitude of the arrival of Jesus. And so at Advent we anticipate, at Christmas we celebrate and at Epiphany we contemplate.

Like a fresh covering of snow, “the good news of great joy for all people” will blanket our whole lives if we let it. Epiphany is about opening our eyes to see that brown trees are now white, and muddied paths now sparkle. If we stand still long enough it might settle upon us, too. At the arrival of Jesus everything changed and everything is still changing.

Epiphany simply means to show, or reveal, or to make known. Something has happened, and now we notice it. The magi arrive and finally glimpse what was long sought. The shepherds go to tell what they have witnessed. Herod seeks to extinguish the newborn light. What will we do with Jesus?

We might do well not to rush past Christmas, but linger at the manger a while. 2016 stretches ahead, but how will it be marked? What will it be blanketed with? Our plans, our schemes, our worries?

It is good news of great joy for everyone. May that settle on and in us a little longer.