Looking Past Christmas

 

I wanted to be critical of the Post-Dispatch who in today’s issue had their “Go” section listing things to do on New Year’s Eve.  Couldn’t we wait until after Christmas?

Then I realized, I’ve been working on gathering material for a New Year’s/First Sunday after Christmas sermon for the last week.  We will likely have grandchildren at our house several days next week, which is wonderful, but not great for sermon preparation.

What is more since January 1 is both New Year’s Day or in church year the Name of Jesus day when Jesus was circumcised and formally given his name following up on the directions given by the angel before he was conceived. (Luke 2:21)

However, Sunday January 1, is also the first Sunday after Christmas and the Gospel lesson takes along on the Holy family, fleeing into Egypt as they escape mad Herod’s slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:13-23).

Still one more option would be to celebrate January as Epiphany Sunday and remember the Wise Men coming with their gifts to worship the new King of the Jews. (Matthew 2-1-12).

The whole conversion of days on January 1, this year, reminds me of the donkey caught at equal distance between hay stacks, in this case three of them, starved to death because he couldn’t make up his mind about which stack to go to first.

As for me, I’m going with the Old Testament lesson for the first Sunday after Christmas. (Isaiah 63:7-14) This text allows me to incorporate New Year’s Day, the naming of Jesus and the flight into Egypt as examples of God who is with us in his blessing in the New Year as He was in the year just past.

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