January arrives abruptly.  You have the busyness, tinselness and here-there-and-everywhere-ness of December, followed by Christmas celebrations, family get-togethers, chocolates, chocolates and chocolates.   

Then you have those hazy days watching films, dragging the family out for a walk and trying to wean the children back off the chocolates. This is followed by a new year’s celebration where you fight your hardest to stay up until midnight, despite really just wanting to sleep. 

Then it’s January, suddenly.  The decorations are taken down, you make some negligible resolutions for 2024, and you’re left with the cold and the greyness. It’s abrupt. It’s clinical.  Any traces of tinsel or pine leaves are surgically removed, and any evidence of the festivities are erased.

Yet the “reason for the season”, Jesus, isn’t just a plastic baby to be placed in a wooden manger and celebrated in December.  

Jesus is with us into the new year, into the greyness and the cold.  That “joy to the world” who we sung of in December is still here, ushering us in, encouraging us to enjoy the world around us.  

Jesus is with us in 2024, no matter how abruptly it has begun.