From a spiritual point of view, these days between Christmas and New Year are some of the most peculiar of the entire calendar. If you’re not one of those people who pant in pursuit of Boxing Days’ shopping madness, you may find yourself at a bit of a loose end. Mentally, we start to debrief the maelstrom of the Holiday season, with all its forceful volume and garish colors. It’s good to sift through the crumpled wrappings for the real pearls; moments of distinction which brought Emmanuel. It’s time to mull in the lull.
In the calm following the Christmas tempest, here at the turning of the tide, there is space to gaze back at the year that lies in shadow. We’ve known years that were difficult, traumatic, interminable burdens we were delighted to see in the rear-view mirror. No way we would live that mess over again! Even exceptionally favorable years pierced us unexpectedly with disappointment, shame or lament. As those of us with a few years accumulated to our account can testify, crossing the threshold of auld lang syne overshadowed with regret or skepticism is simply not wise. There’s a deliberate, hygienic, internal shift that is required, before we make the leap. Whether the spent season was good or bad or otherwise, a childlike gratitude for merely being alive is appropriate, even de rigueur.
I love to revisit the story of the Magi at this juncture (Matt 2:1-12,16). It’s the crowning touch on the Nativity story, and satisfyingly fitting. In the hush following dramatic events - the dearth of supplies, crisis of birthing, angel choirs, and a rash of rumpled and rustic visitors, Mary and Joseph are enjoying the blissful quiet. Suddenly, there’s a whole lot of camel parked outside the stable. Three really important-looking foreign diplomat types are unexpectedly darkening the doorway. They blow in with the dust of long travel, deep respect, and serious goodies in their swag bag.
It strikes me that the wise men are a wonderful archetype for the attitude we need to transition from the old year to the new. Reputed to be a combination of astrologers, prognosticators and statesmen in their own milieu, they were on the watch for the wondrous and extraordinary. Out of nowhere, these sages entered the picture. My question is this: even as these pagan princes spotted the lone star, how did they know it purported something special? How did they know it was the herald of a king (a baby born, no less)? Why, knowing all these things, would they choose to travel a dangerous journey, at outrageous distances to be there at the unfolding moment? It was not simple flesh and blood that revealed these deep truths to these gentiles. The Lord fired and fueled them. There’s a huge, unknown backstory here that is wonderfully mysterious and inscrutable; a perfect imagery for the enigmatic journey of the individual soul. This has personal application.
Despite it all, Wisdom, in the form of these sages, followed the star; believing the prophetic promise it carried. Wisdom, rooted in God, isn’t afraid to venture into new paths, unknown lands or humble destinations. It isn’t limited by tradition or culture, it is not intimidated by crafty tyrants, snared in political correctness or bound by promises extorted through guile. Sloughing off past miscalculations and unknowing ignorance, it recalibrates when necessary. It doesn’t give a fig about age, or kowtow in a spirit of partiality. The truly sagacious enters lowly places, to worship tiny, newborn kings, who will not yet recognize the sacrifice. It lavishly opens its treasuries to pure and holy plans, and agents, of God. It departs without fanfare, and returns quietly to its own place. Paul translated the wisdom of the sages with this scripture;
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” Phil 3:12-16
It is an ancient and venerable tradition at this time to consider New Year’s resolutions. Though many may mock, there is wisdom behind it. There is a fresh prophetic treasury of promises for the New Year, for those who will lay hold on them. I recently had a dream so graphic and powerful, I knew even as I was dreaming it, that the Lord was present and speaking. I found myself looking into a mirror, and as I did, a hand came and began placing deep gold shadow on my eyelids. In fact, it was actual 24 karat gold, and then the same hand rimmed my eyes darkly and dramatically with black kohl, much after the ancient Egyptian style. Even in sleep, I knew something was being given to me; a dramatic, significant increase in prophetic, seer ability. In 2018, I’m going to position myself in spiritual discipline and focused listening to grasp every bit of this new endowment. May I suggest you do the same?
Whatever gift or ability the Lord is highlighting in your life right now, take it as a sign that if you will commit yourself to the process in 2018, the Lord will exponentially and supernaturally elevate it. He’ll multiply it. Don’t be cynical about the sacred process of the years’ turning. Believe in the goodness of God, and His fresh benefits. Let’s enter the company of ancient sages, and embrace 2018, with its unfolding promise in the same strong prophetic motivation and energy. Follow the path of sagacity, follow the star, and catch the wave of God’s timeless anointing for this pristine, contemporary moment.