I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas with family and friends this year. For
some, it may have been difficult because of the loss of a loved one. As my own
family all gathered at the parsonage for Christmas, it was a time of joy. My son and
daughter-in-law flew in from Kansas City, while my daughter, son-in-law and
granddaughter drove here from Rochester. It is the first time we’ve all been together in nearly four years. It was some reunion.
So, now everything is over for another year, or is it? Is Christmas over? The church
calendar says it is still Christmas until January 6, Epiphany, when we celebrate the
coming of the wise men to Jesus, but in some respects, shouldn’t Christmas be a
part of our lives every day?
Jesus not only came to the world in general but came to us, to live in us as well. In
Holy Baptism, Jesus becomes incarnate in our own lives by the Holy Spirit. We
cannot see God, but we can see our family of faith all around us.
We have started a new year. We don’t know what it will bring. For those people who are looking for signs that God is with us, all they have to do is look at other members of God’s family and they will see the eyes and ears and mouth and hands and feet of God.
2020 was such a difficult year with the beginning of the pandemic and we were all
pinning our hopes on 2021 being a better year where we could put COVID in the
rearview mirror…but it didn't happen. Despite vaccinations, numbers affected have
soared, particularly in our part of New York. So, what are our expectations for 2022?
I certainly do not have a crystal ball to tell us what this year will look like, but I know
Who does. God wants us to live life abundantly as the end of John’s gospel says,
“But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). I’d like to share with you my go-to prayer that comforts me whenever the future seems uncertain:
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the
ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out
with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Evangelical
In Christ’s abundant love,
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