The first months of a new year are difficult. In the northern, harsher climates, winter drags on as drifts of snow seem to stretch endlessly outward and upward. The rugged ritual of mummifying yourself before heading out the door is followed by its reverse: peeling off each layer as you come back in. It add frustration to family life by adding on precious preparation time in an already busy life–I often feel late to everything, everywhere. On top of that, someone may be missing a sock or a hat.
It’s also a hard time, psychologically. Often this point is one of the lowest ones in the entire year. The distracted bustle of the holidays is over. We’ve already broken some new resolutions, falling short of our great hopes for ourselves. The everyday drudgery starts to loom large, even though there are small hints that spring is just around the corner.
The temptation during difficult times is to withdraw from the very things that might prove most helpful. God may feel absent and cold. Friends and family may seem distant and aloof. Don’t let this difficult time turn you away from those who love you most, and Him who loves you more than you can even conceive. If anything, the worse we feel, the more important it is to turn towards God, to pray that He be a light to us in darkness. Fight that darkness with light. After all, the great Pascha is coming.
For those who may be struggling with deep despair, the beautiful Akathist to Jesus, Light to those in Darkness, by Fr. Lawrence Farley, is a wonderful prayer that soothes a weary soul.