by Rev. Emmanuel N. Ilagan
A couple of weeks ago a group of us shared a farewell meal with a common friend. She had lived, worked and made friends in the Dallas, Texas area for many years. She loved her job and had hoped to stay on but external circumstances required her to leave and go to Canada to be reunited with her sister. The transition must be a bittersweet experience for her.
This new year we can expect transitions to happen in our life. Some of them may be major ones like retirement, marriage, going off to college, moving to another state, having a baby, and so on. Sometimes the transition could be devastating, as in the loss of a job, a serious illness, the break-up of a relationship, or the death of a loved one. Major transitions may happen non-stop or simultaneously and can be overwhelming.
For some of us the new year may be uneventful, with no significant change in our family or work or other personal circumstances. Things may run so smoothly that it seems we are caught in the “same o’, same o’” mode – making us actually wish for more spice and excitement in our life.
The first visitors of Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem experienced radical transition – more like transformation – in their lives. The frightened lowly shepherds became bold evangelists (Luke 2:9; 16-18); the pagan magi-seekers became humble worshipers (Matthew 2:11). For Mary and Joseph life was never the same as they became refugees in Egypt to escape from Herod (Matthew 2:13-14), then returned to Nazareth to serve as earthly parents of the Son of God (Luke 2:39).
As humans we live through the passage of moments we call “time”; and time brings transitions – favorable or not. But our God is beyond time; God sees the past, the present and the future all at once — in what someone has called the “eternal now.”
The same God loves us and knows the transitions in our life. In fact God declares we are more than conquerors of every transition that we may encounter. No matter what happens, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39).
O God, You have been our help in the past. As we enter this new year we place our hopes and fears into Your loving hands, knowing You are with us. In Christ’s Name. Amen.