By Pastor Harold Martin
I still remember a Sunday when my brother and I were 10 or 12 years old (we were less than two years apart in age) and we took communion in our Methodist church. The communion stewards passed the elements to the people in the pews. After eating and swallowing the small pre-cut piece of bread and sipping the tiny cups of grape juice, I sent my brother a small note on a piece of paper ripped off of a church bulletin that simply read, “full yet?” His answer on the return note, “nope!” We went to church that Sunday with our parents to “celebrate Communion.” Now what these two preteen boys saw, observed and experienced that Sunday was hardly a celebration as we thought of such things.
When our family celebrated anything it was a happy, joyous time with grandparents, parents, and kids all chattering, maybe singing, and the kids were running all over the house and back yard. Our grandpa always said the most glorious prayer for dinner that us kids had ever heard. Even the preacher at church couldn’t pray like Babaw prayed. He spoke with a southern Kentucky edge on his praying words that commanded respect from his grandkids. Dinner and our grandpa’s prayer were indeed a “celebration.” We kids somehow knew something significant was happening in that quiet moment.
There was no beating on tubs with wooden spoons, ringing of cow bells, fireworks banging in our ears, loud singing, nor clapping going on. But somehow there was “celebration” in the air. It was a sacred moment, perhaps even a Holy time, when Babaw intoned, “Thank you, Father, for this family gathered here this day…” Somehow we kids squirmed with recognition that something highly significant was happening right there that day. I guess we kids too might have called it a “celebration.” Whatever that is and whatever was happening, it included us. We knew that we too, were part of that Blessing. Dinner was on the way.
The quiet, deep cold, of January covers home like a cuddly warmth of welcome joy. The week after Christmas wraps up the old year. Then there comes along New Year’s Eve. My head goes into a strange annual spin– What is it? Is it the old year’s ending or the New Year’s beginning? December 31. The wind blows, snowflakes dance, resolutions quiver in hopeful dreaming. When I finally prop open my eyelids, it is January 6th and then I know the New Year is already in gear. Epiphany announces a journey completed. Wise ones awaken, the new journey has already begun. It started as a “celebration.”