Written by Courtney McHill, United Methodist Pastor
This year we have one Sunday in the season of Christmas before we celebrate Epiphany. This particular year we have a very special way to celebrate the incarnation through baptism and a wedding! For us, both ceremonies represent love in the world and invite God to participate with us in community. We will get to remind ourselves that we are surrounded by God through baptism and mark the little one with God’s community. Through marriage, we get to participate in a covenant with God and with the couple. What a great way to celebrate God incarnate through a baby.
Our scriptures today are all about reminding us that the Incarnation (God in the form of a human with us) is not just about this week but all year long and throughout our lives. This helps us support the life of the church all year long. When we experience Christmas, Paul reminds us that we can clothe ourselves with the qualities of Christ and not just at Christmas. By clothing ourselves with these qualities we add to the community as a whole.
Our gospel lesson is the community of John’s birth narrative but it reminds us that Christ existed before our time and will exist after. Through word and light, we are reminded that we must carry on the story, each of us. The light in the world does not just exist on Christmas but throughout our time. Through baptism, we are told that we get to carry on the light in community.
Finally, each scripture is written to not just an individual but communities of people much like baptism, marriage, and Christmas are not just for singular beings but for communities of people. Through baptism, we are reminded that we have responsibility to one another. Through marriage, we make covenants to love one another. Through Christmas, we know that God resides here and now and it is our responsibility to spread the word.
Quotes for the Week
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” ― Bob Hope
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ” ― Washington Irving
“Christmas is our annual reminder to look up – pondering celestial stars, to look out – serving those in need, and to look down – glorifying our Lord in humble prayer.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich
Colossians 13:12-17 (NRSV)
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 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. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
John 1: 1-14 (NRSV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Questions for the Week
How will you carry on the ideas of Christmas?
What are you most excited about this season?
Where do you see Christmas continuing on?