Despite spending two nights in a house with a seven month old baby, she wasn’t the worst culprit for waking me up over this festive season. In fact she seems to be getting the hang of the sleeping thing remarkably well and it was a pleasure to spend some time with her and her lovely parents over New Year. It was the nights in my parents’ house between Christmas and New Year which involved early morning disturbance from some rather punctual wrens who chirruped excessively cheerfully every 7am. They have a clock which plays birdsong from different species at each hour of the day and for some reason related to the very nice kitchen refurbishment, the clock has been promoted to upstairs. Gah.
When I have to be woken up I tend to prefer some interesting conversation on Radio 4 to anything more perky. I don’t mind waking up to the gradual light of dawn but I seem to have missed out on much in the way of lie-ins this Christmas holiday. I’m hoping that a change is as good as a rest as I feel like I’ve packed a lot of different things into the break but not a lot of relaxing doing nothing. It’s been good to spend time with family and friends but I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel ready to go back to work tomorrow.
I’ve read a few good blog-posts today from people reassessing their priorities and I think the New Year gives a clear opportunity for this. I guess I want to be waking up to what’s important, what I feel like I need to be doing with my life and making the most of what I have. Graduating with my doctorate did bring a sense of accomplishment but it also makes me think I need to be moving on to whatever else I am supposed to be doing. While I may complain about being single and having no obvious reason to stay in a particular place, on the other hand this is very freeing. I don’t have a mortgage or children’s schools to worry about – I could go anywhere.
I don’t want to settle for a humdrum life where I get so bogged down in work or other stuff that I can’t maintain good friendships. I don’t want to settle for watching mediocre television or listening to commercially packaged music when there is so much more entertaining, creative and exciting culture out there. I don’t want to spend so much time skimming facebook or other websites that I don’t actually engage my brain and heart with some of the issues and needs of people I care about. If seeing a status update on facebook provokes me to call someone, arrange to see them, pray for them, take action on a petition or write a letter to someone, then that’s great. If the update just washes over me as part of a nebulous ‘keeping up on people’s news/gossip’ then I’m probably kidding myself that I have that number of friends. Peering through someone’s window every so often doesn’t make them my friend.
Living in light is how Paul describes the way Christians are called to live. He talks about waking up from our sleep, making the most of every opportunity, understanding God’s will, giving thanks to God for everything. Martyn Joseph has a song called ‘Wake Me Up’ which has also been on my mind as I’ve been writing this. Another song of his has a line about coming to sing, to “drag you from the bed you’re lying in”. Whether it’s great song-writing, great blogging, great preaching, great radio programmes, great conversations, great encounters with the natural world, even wrens on clocks; whatever it is that wakes us up, challenges us and makes us feel alive is probably something to engage with more in 2012. If we need a good night’s sleep first, that’s probably a fine place to start. But here’s to abundant, fulfilling and joyful living in 2012.