Thought for the week, 6th January; here comes the sun

We can apparently anticipate a new sight in the sky for the next couple of weeks; a bright orange disc. For those who have forgotten, this is called “the sun” and it seems to have been largely absent for the last month of rain and gloom. Sunlight is welcome, both for our physical and mental well-being; there is something very enlivening about a bright winter day, with the sun shining through the bare hedges and trees and the promise of better weather ahead.

The return of the sun coincides with the Christian festival of the epiphany, on January 6th. This celebrates the visit of the wise men to the infant Jesus, but it is more than a chance to sing “We three kings” and the time to take down the Christmas decorations. The wise men were not Jews and yet they were called to worship the infant Jesus and the word epiphany has the meaning of a revelation of God’s light to all humanity. It is not easy to find causes for optimism in the world at the moment, but just as the days lengthen and become brighter, the sun increasingly shines throughout the day, epiphany reminds us to look out and celebrate in that whatever sustains us spiritually.