Today is the Chinese New Year, and it will be the year of the Fire Monkey. The Chinese New Year is a time of cleaning, of sweeping out, of restoring order. The year of the Fire Monkey is often seen as a time of completion, and it has the potential to be a time of prosperity. But fire years, while giving warmth, can also be times of aggression, restlessness, and impulsive behavior.
How to celebrate?
This site tells us, "Anything and everything that is no longer serving your highest and best interest (aka, your soul) has to go. It is time to end any thoughts, habits, beliefs, people, places, or things that are no longer worthy of moving forward with you into the new." The author then goes on to suggest lots of cleaning out of clutter. Always a good suggestion.
We are in a time of all sorts of transition. This week will see us celebrate Mardi Gras and finish our Carnival celebrations as we move to Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, which is one of the somber church seasons, a time of introspection and penitence.
Many Christians will give up something for Lent, often something we should have been giving up all along. A more recent tradition is to add something for Lent: more devotional reading or a creative practice (for more suggestions, see this blog post on my theology blog). I plan to do more coloring. I like the resources on this site, the way it suggests we color a shape for each day of Lent. That will be my Lenten discipline this year, along with my daily reading of Henri Nouwen's Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent.
For those of us who have fallen away from our New Year's resolutions, this week would be a good time to reassess. Did we let go of them because they weren't serving us well? Or do we want to try again.
Time moves relentlessly, and we're only here for a very short bit. How do we want to use these precious days?
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