Here in Hyattsville we have Kermit the Frog as one of our leading citizen-mascots. Phil the Groundhog lives far away in his den near Penn State, yet we do pay attention when the Groundhog Day forecast promises an early spring. An early spring means new life, new joy, new light, happier faces as we emerge from our own hibernation and begin preparing the rituals of opening up and spring cleaning.

The Feast of the Presentation which we observe on February 2 each year shines its own new light, in this case the Light of Christ entering the House of God for the first time. The accumulations of winter clutter and bureaucratic corruption so endemic to religious institutions great and small suddenly seem ready for purging and scrubbing, the scraggly end-of-winter landscapes for plowing and reseeding. Hope reappears: hope for a better cycle than the last one, hope of overcoming old leftover griefs and resentments, hope for purging and cleaning in ourselves, body and soul.

Nothing could symbolize this better than the coming of a brand new child into our midst to light up our lives. Here at St. Matthew’s this spring we are expecting at least two: one at mid-February to a Day School family, and one in mid-May to the Jankowski family. Our new immigrant first grader from Bengladesh, Mark Gomes, will enroll in first grade this week at Felegy and join the new friends who will accompany him on their common journey to the diploma twelve years in their future. With joy we rearrange our homes and our lives and our classroom desks to make room for these new little ones. Their new beginning is ours as well.

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