In the usual course of the post-Christmas tradition of the Von Behren family, when I was growing up, January brought something new. It actually started before Christmas way back at the beginning of Advent. It started because we had to make room in our home for a tree. Not being a normal fixture in our living room, furniture, which had long since made it’s mark in the carpeting, had to be repositioned or completely moved to make space for the Christmas tree—and more importantly the presents that would surround it.
Once Christmas came and went there was opportunity for things to go back the way they were, or for our family to experience something new. What I mean is: would the furniture go right back into its old carpet ruts or would we rearrange the living room now for the new year? My mother and father had significant influence in that decision but they also invited my sister and I to have our say. More often than not we chose to do something new.
Despite the title, this is not an article about “feng shui” (so if you don't know what that even means—don’t worry). I’m not concerned with whether you rearrange your furniture, how you do it, or how it will affect your energy, harmony, or good fortune in the new year. However, I am concerned that things don’t just go “back to normal” for you after celebrating the gift of a Savior this year. This does not always happen, but this year—2019—Epiphany, January 6, is on a Sunday. So, we will read the account of the Magi coming to see the child Jesus from Matthew 2 in worship that day. At the end of that account we read, “they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him...And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” (Matthew 2:11-12) When the text says “they departed...by another way,” it is specifically talking about the route of their journey. However, knowing what took place, and that their visit with Jesus culminated in worship and with faith that they did not have before in this Christ Child, it’s not far-reaching to say that they also followed a different way after they reached home—for Jesus is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Following Jesus as “the Way” would have been quite new for them.
No longer would they be looking for their fortunes in Eastern patterns of “feng shui,” or astrology, or any other quasi-spiritual path to fulfillment. They would instead be beginning the process of reorienting their entire living around Jesus.
Rearranging a living room is small potatoes compared to that. Rearranging a living room can be done in an afternoon. This is something that can not be done in one year. It’s something God intends to do in us every year. Every time we celebrate the Lord’s birth, afterwards something should change. Not everything should go back into the same old ruts. Only now we’re not talking about furniture anymore—feel free to put that back where it was—but be careful not to do that with everything in your life. It’s healthy for us to depart Christmas by another way… the Jesus way!