The Christmas season is so short! Many teachers and students started their winter break during Advent, and will return after the last Sunday in the season of Christmas. This crucial season in the church year, when we celebrate the arrival of our Savior as a newborn child, is as fleeting as the infancy of a real newborn child.

The Birth of Jesus - Luke 2:1-20
The Birth of Jesus with Shepherds, Jesus MAFA

So, as we prepare to welcome Jesus into public ministry with the story of his baptism next Sunday, where do you find yourselves this week? The Revised Common Lectionary gives the following options for Christmas 2C:

Jeremiah 31:7-14 – God promises to bring the people back from exile, and they will rejoice when they return! “I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” (NRSV)

Psalm 147:12-20 (to accompany the Jeremiah reading) – a song of praise to God, who has given the Word to Israel and no other nation. “Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion!” (NRSV)

Sirach 24:1-12 – Holy Wisdom describes herself as the divine Word, originating in the mouth of God, and dwelling among God’s people in Israel/Zion/Jerusalem. If Sirach is not generally used in your tradition, this week might be a good opportunity to check it out.

Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21 (to accompany the Sirach reading) – a song of praise to Wisdom, who led the exodus of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, a role traditionally ascribed to YHWH or God the Father.

Ephesians 1:3-14 – humankind has been adopted by God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and given a divine inheritance. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…” (NRSV)

John 1:[1-9] 10-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God! An introduction to the one-ness of Jesus and YHWH, and the role of John the Baptist as precursor to Jesus.

In my congregation, we are celebrating Epiphany this weekend – the beginning of the season of light, the arrival of the magi and their gifts to the child Jesus. Anyone else taking this route? Or perhaps you’re honoring the Holy Name of Jesus, the feast assigned for January 1.

Whatever your focus, however far along you are in your preparation, welcome to the discussion! Please share questions, ideas, suggestions and sermon drafts in the comments. Blessings on your writing.

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9 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Fleeting Christmas

  1. i am going with the Epiphany readings , but extending Matthew to include the slaughter of the innocents. responses to Jesus. saviour or threat?
    next week i am planning on Jesus in the Temple – the RCL from 27th December, then the Baptism of Jesus one week later than RCL.

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    1. Jesus: savior or threat? That is a fascinating topic. I find myself wondering how Jesus would be received in various political or cultural settings today – as a savior or a threat? Hoping that the thought process unfolds in a meaningful way!

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  2. I’m preaching on late notice (Monday afternoon) at a new-to-me congregation. I’m going with Epiphany, and I have a couple of old sermons to draw from, but they need some re-working. I am currently away from home, hopefully returning tomorrow evening. Maybe I’ll have some time to think on the road.

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    1. Hoping that your previous sermons can be repurposed for this new-to-you congregation. Blessings in your brainstorming and in relating to a new group of folks this weekend.

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  3. I am praying for an Epiphany epiphany here! I have reworked last year’s reflection and added in some new bits just in case nothing else ‘comes’ but hopefully there will indeed be an ‘epiphany’ and I will find a star of hope to set me off on a journey with the Matthew text.

    As we are doing star words again this year I don’t need a massively long sermon – and I might even use a poem or story alongside my exegetical notes…hmmm…still got a few days for the Holy Spirit to do her thing.

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    1. Sounds like you can make it work for Sunday, and if the Holy Spirit brings some new inspiration before then, all the better!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your reflections. I like your powerful interpretation of the meaning of the Word made flesh.

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