On NetFlix, I happened upon a new series starring Marie Kondo called “Tidying Up,” which is about decluttering one’s home so that one’s joy and freedom may flourish. Marie Kondo is a Japanese organization/tidying expert with a popular book, business, and now TV show. Clearly, she has struck a deep chord in people who are trying to clear the clutter in their lives so that they can be happier and more in alignment with who they are. This tidying up allows their light to shine now that the piles of clutter aren’t blocking the light.
This practice has other names, such as simplicity or minimalism. We all may have experienced it when moving, or when cleaning out a garage, or when downsizing from a larger home to a smaller home. This practice also applies to non-material things, such as the activities in which we participate and the responsibilities we take on. Simplicity and minimalism are important spiritual practices for Christians too, something we learned from the monastic traditions.
One of the most common things I hear from church members is how busy they are. They say, “We’re never home” or “we just have so much going on.” One of the practices of tidying up one’s life is to ask oneself, “Does this thing give me joy?” and “Is it necessary?” All the things may be good things, but if the end result is a feeling of being stressed, torn in too many directions, and tired, is it really what God wants for us? What would happen if we stopped and sat in silence and asked God, “What do you want for me right now?” Or “How can my light shine right now?”
The season of Epiphany is a great time to ask these questions of God as a new calendar year starts. What can we strip away so our light may shine more brightly? What can we shed so that God’s light is more visible to us? On Epiphany, we celebrate the light of Christ and its manifestation in each of us. May we shine brightly with God’s grace today and always.