The Janus of January

fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japanThe Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates and time…
of beginnings, transitions, and endings.

janus-vatican-museum-by-loudon-dodd-wikiJanus was depicted as having two faces, one that looked back and one that looked forward, and it’s commonly thought that Janus was the god for whom the month of January was named by the Romans…a god who looked back over the past year and looked forward to the coming year. 2002_austria_100_euro_sculpture_wikiIt’s been a long time since I’ve really thought about the development of our present calendar, but I learned that the Roman calendar (which may be 2,700 years old) was updated in 46 BC. by Julius Caesar. However, that calendar—though an improvement over the 304-day Roman calendar—only had 355 days, and it wasn’t until 1582 that Pope Gregory X111 introduced the Gregorian calendar (our present calendar) which has 365.25 days (365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds to be precise). This calendar is the world’s most commonly used international civil calendar today. Sorry if this was too much detail, but the thing that really caught my attention was the description of Janus, because it made me think of the God of the Bible, who also declares himself to be the God of beginnings and endings. Revelation 22:13 proclaims: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”  fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japan-2      However, the God of the Bible says He is “God of gods and Lord of Lords
(Deuteronomy 10:17). fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japan-4He is the God of Janus and the God of all gods…not just the god of beginnings, and gates, and transitions and endings, but the Creator God, who made the sun and moon and stars and everything we see and every concept people try to worship. He is also the most worshiped God in the world today, did you know that? high-speed-train-on-way-to-fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japanThis God is my God, and I am thankful that through all the stages and transitions of life, I can rest in this ineffable God, who is not limited to sovereignty over certain aspects of life, but who is sovereign over all of life. kathi-at-fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japanEven more wonderful, the God of the Bible is a God of compassion and mercy. He was merciful in the past before we lived, He is merciful today while we live, and He will be merciful in the future. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). He’ll never change, and that gives me great hope and peace.  fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japan-mother-and-small-son“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japan-3Are you worried about what might lie ahead of you this year? Let’s not fret. Rather, let’s trust in the God of gates and passageways…the God who not only knows but is Himself the beginning and ending.

Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:5-8)

fushimi-inari-shrine-%e4%bc%8f%e8%a6%8b%e7%a8%b2%e8%8d%b7%e5%a4%a7%e7%a4%be-fushimi-inari-taisha-kyoto-japan-5(These photos of the beautiful orange gates are of Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha) near Kyoto, Japan, and were taken while Alan and I were visiting with our kids and grand kids.)

 

When the Children Grow Up and the Dog Dies

Bleeding Hearts 05.23.16Things were pretty lonely around here after the kids grew up and our dog died. Forget-me-notsAlan suggested making cardboard cutouts of the kids Geraniumsand setting them around our dining room table Squirrel on canoeor placing them in random locations in and outside. Lilac-colored IrisHowever, we slowly adjusted to “just” the two of us after 40 years of children. Two deer by boatAlan had the sensation we were dating again,Turkey on our laneand I felt a little lost, like a newly wed just playing at house.Racoon on our dock However, in the last two weeks since we’ve returned from Europe, Mother Duck and 3 ducklings by dock+10 5.26.16it’s occurred to me that we’re not alone at all! Great blue heron and ducks on dockWe have all sorts of neighbors who come to visit every day, Racoon on dock 5.27.16and they seem particularly taken with our new dock! Racoon in our cherry treeOf course, the coons, birds, and squirrels are pretty partial to our cherry tree too.Woodchuck in grass Our proverbial woodchuck is always busy trying to figure out Woodchuck. How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 5.26.16just how much wood a woodchuck can chuck, Woodchuck+10 26.16and after he’s done working, he’d like to take a dip in the lake… Woodchuck by swimming poolor in the pool if we’d take that carnsarned cover off so he could get in. Deer in our yardTwo days ago while Alan was mowing, Columbinehe discovered a brand new fawn hiding in the grass just 10 feet in front of him. Squirrel on our deckHe ran into the house to grab “camera woman,”Vinca Minor but the tiny creature managed to wobble off and find another hiding place Deer by dock 5.26.16before we returned. Mink at edge of woodsSo, we’re not really alone!Geese on lake In fact, there’s so much commotion around here Racoon by our canoe 5.26.16that it’s hard to get to sleep at night! Geese squawking in eveningThe geese squawk, Great blue heron on dockand the swamp frogs’ antiphonal chorus is as thunderous as a giant snoring. Robin's nest by tea roomIt’s also hard to sleep in with all the song birds serenading the sun bright & early.MuskratEven better than all this polyphony of sights and sounds outside Chipmunkis that still, small voice inside, Mink on dockreminding me that no matter what happens between now and forever, Purple IrisJesus will always be with me!  Duck and ducklings on lake“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)  Bi-colored irisI am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Revelation 22:13)

(All photos taken around our house in the last few days. Thank you, Lord!)