God’s Beloved People,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It know it’s already January, but the 12 days of Christmas go clear through January 5th. Commercial Christmas ended on December 24th, but in the church we like to celebrate later and longer. The birthday of the Savior of the world is worthy of a 12 day bash!
Within those 12 days of Christmas also comes the Name of Jesus celebration on Jan 1st. How good and right it is to begin a new year in the name of our Savior. Like all Jewish babies, Jesus was named on his 8th day of life. Jesus: what’s in a name? Jesus/Joshua/Yehoshua means “God saves” or “Yahweh saves.” The tiny child born in Bethlehem grows up to teach, heal and feed people. Finally he gives up his life on a cross to forgive all sin and rises from death to give us and all believers new and everlasting life. The angel said to Joseph, “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
On Jan 6th, we move into the season of Epiphany with the Visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. Epiphany means an unveiling, a revelation, a bringing to light. Epiphany is the season of light in the midst of winter darkness. “Jesus Christ you are the light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.” (Holden Evening Prayer). The magi or wise men helped reveal some important truths about the baby. Jesus is for all people. Jesus brings great joy. Jesus is the one to worship. Jesus is worthy of our finest gifts. (Think time, talent and treasure).
And during the season of Epiphany on Jan 17th, we remember a modern day prophet and martyr, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was once privileged to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where M.L. King was pastor, and the King family home and the M.L. King Center. How do we keep King’s dream of racial equality and brother/sisterhood alive today? How do we stand up to the evil of white supremacy through non-violent resistance? We still have a long way to go in the country. Currently I am reading and recommend “How To Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X Kendi. My friends, I encourage you to keep reading, studying and speaking out against the evils of racism.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5
Serving God and Neighbor together with you,