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A Gift for the New Year

December 29, 2018

The old year will soon be gone and a new year will begin. My prayer for all of us is that we will meet God in new and fascinating ways as we traverse 2019. A part of that prayer is that we will truly use the gifts which God has given to us for the benefit of God’s Kingdom and not for our own self-aggrandizement or self-glorification.

The Gospel Reading for this First Sunday after Christmas seems to be out of order. Jesus’s birth, next we see him at age twelve, and on Epiphany (January 6th) the Wise Men come with their gifts for the infant or two year old depending upon your theological math!

Tomorrow we will sing more Christmas Carols since this is still the Christmas season. For the purist, it begins on Christmas Eve and ends with Epiphany twelve days later… you know, the Twelve Days of Christmas with a Partridge in a Pear Tree, Leaping Lord’s, Maids a Milking, and Five Golden Rings. Click here for my favorite version of that song: John Denver & The Muppets: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Anyhow, we have the incident in the Temple where the precocious teenage Jesus tells his parents… why were you worried, I was doing my Father’s business… if I had been missing and said something like that to my parents, I would have been in trouble!

Well, if we look beyond that, we do see that Jesus was following the call of God in his life. This was a very brief look into the early days of Jesus. His life would remain shrouded in anonymity and mystery until he appeared at the age of thirty to begin his public ministry. The gift that he would bring to the world had not yet been revealed, but glimpses of the gift were indeed seen by the religious leaders who were amazed by his understanding and questions.

However, as we stand on the cusp of a New Year, wondering what it will hold for us as individuals and as a Community of Faith, my thoughts turn to the reading from Colossians 3:12-17. It opens with these words in verse 12: As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

How are we to walk into this new year? What are we supposed to be about in the building of God’s Kin-dom (a concept we explored in some depth at the PC(USA) 223rd General Assembly)? The opening verse gives us a good idea of how we are to begin this process. Compassion… Kindness… Humility… Meekness… Patience… Clothing ourselves like that, we would see our work of building the Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven (a phrase I use regularly when praying at the dedication of our tithes and offerings each Sunday).

Can you imagine what life and this world would be like if people actually acted that way? Especially those who claim to be followers of Jesus. We would see a lot fewer lower case christians and a lot more Christ Followers!

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:13-14)

In the words of Louis Armstrong, what a wonderful world this would be! Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I believe that this world needs a whole lot of kin working together with compassion, humility, kindness, meekness, and patience. If we could see each other, even with all of our differences as Kin created in the Image of God… relatives… family… called to build a Kin-dom here where love binds us all together. That would indeed be a gift for the new year.

Perhaps we can each do our part to make that a reality, beginning with our own homes and neighborhoods. Can you imagine it? I believe we can, in the words of John Lennon, if we try. Will you join with me, dear reader?

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