Many New Year blessings to you! Where do you find yourself on this second Sunday of Christmas? This is such a short liturgical season, and attendance is often quite low as folks are spending time with their families to celebrate the holidays. But there are so many important Biblical stories at this time of the year! Which passages will you share with your congregation this weekend?
Some folks are observing Epiphany in advance of the Jan 6 date. A celebration of the arrival of the magi and their gifts to the child Jesus, guided by a star. The beginning of the season of Light. A time to celebrate the power of God breaking in to our human darkness. The images of light and dark in Epiphany lend themselves to an honest discussion about race, which is important to address in current American society. Celebrating the season of light in the Southern Hemisphere while the days are actually getting shorter could inspire some interesting conversations.
The Narrative Lectionary brings us to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He is teaching in the synagogue, performing healings, and casting out unclean spirits. This passage includes the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, complete with the perplexing bit about how the first thing she does upon being healed is get up and begin to serve them. Discussion on Mark’s collection of stories began on this page earlier this week.
The Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary is from John 1, one of the texts also assigned for Christmas Day. Depending on your selection of readings, the Old Testament lessons may continue to celebrate the divine Word, personified as Lady Wisdom (Sirach 24 and Wisdom of Solomon 10), or celebrate the God who rescues people from exile and turns their mourning into dancing (Jeremiah 31 and Psalm 147). The Ephesians reading mentions our adoption into God’s family, which could tie in nicely to the Christmas theme of Joseph as adoptive father to Jesus. This page has some more discussion and ideas.
Perhaps you’re celebrating the naming of Jesus, proclaiming the story of boy Jesus in the Temple, brainstorming congregational New Year’s resolutions, or something else altogether! Whatever your topic, whatever your level of preparation, welcome to the party. Pull up a chair, grab a snack, and join the conversation!
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