According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the name January originates from the ancient Roman god named Janus. In Roman mythology, Janus is depicted as a man with two faces looking in opposite directions; to what is behind him and to what is ahead of him. He was the god of gates and doorways, of beginnings, and the rising and setting of suns.
It is common for people to set new goals in January because it represents the beginning of a new year.
Taking a New Posture
I believe it is time to take on a new attitude about January. I am no longer going to say that it is my least favorite month. I don’t want to just tolerate January anymore. Waiting impatiently for it to go away produces ingratitude. And I do not want to languish for what I do not have— blue skies, sunshine and warm weather. That begets discontentment. Instead, I want to practice gratitude and gratefulness for this particular month. After all, it presents us with unique gifts, ones that do not come at any other time of the year. Uncovering and admiring these gifts is like sitting up and taking notice instead of remaining in a slouched position.
January offers the gift of snow. Snow changes everything in a landscape. It piles up on roofs creating white top hats. Snow balances on tree branches, as well as on barbed wire fences. When the wind blows, it flies through the air creating a white wall of mist. When it drifts it takes on shapes like ruffles, ridges, ravines and motionless ocean waves.
Snow, like a sound barrier, muffles noisy traffic. It forces highway closures, grounds planes, and halts the masses. For public school teachers like me, snow days become slow days. I’m given a gift of time to sit with a book in my lap and a mug of hot cocoa in my hand.
Snow creates its own sounds. Falling from tree branches it plops, under my boots it squeaks, and sliding from metal roofs it crashes. Snow also leaves evidence of where the deer, mice, and birds have trekked, reminding me of the animals who are still here in spite of the cold.
Snow has its own texture, sometimes as light as shredded coconut or as heavy as concrete. It is a testament of just how creative our Creator is. Each flake of snow is unduplicated, no two are alike. To think that in the mounds of snow that surround my house no two flakes are the same is a majestic wonder.
Why bother with a new attitude? When we sit up and take notice, we change our posture and our attitude. Suddenly, we’ve gained a sense of gratitude and gratefulness.