Watching for the Morning of December 27, 2015
The Sunday in Christmas
We are not done with Christmas. We are not done with this season of joy. Twelve days is short, compared to the 50 days of Easter, but that has something to do with the vagaries of history rather than their theological importance.
We casually talk about Christmas as the birthday of Jesus, but this isn’t a birthday celebration. We are celebrating the work of God to enter into the fabric of human existence. We are celebration the incarnation. We are celebrating the whole mystery of the fact that God became an infant in the womb, a child in a manger, a young man in the temple – and a mature man who mediated to us the words and deeds of God: he healed and preached. And he was a man who suffered and died. The whole gamut of human existence.
We are celebrating this mystery that God hasn’t remained safely in the heavens shaking his head at the woes of earth; God has come to walk with us, talk with us, teach us, heal us, forgive us, bear witness to us of the perfect love of God.
So this Sunday and next we will continue to celebrate Christmas. We will read more of the nativity story from Luke and then, on the Sunday of the Epiphany, read the story from Matthew – stories that bear witness to this strange and wonderful and unexpected thing that has happened.
Though the world around us imagines that Christmas is over, we know that it has just begun. Indeed, we know that God’s dwelling with us continues and will come to perfection.
But for now, we are just basking in the joy.
The Prayer for December 27, 2015
Gracious God, Eternal Father, source and goal of life,
in the mystery of the incarnation you have revealed yourself to the world
in the face of a child,
a boy filled with your wisdom,
and a man faithful to your will.
By his word and work create us in new and faithful hearts
that, trusting always in your promise,
we may recognize our place in your house;
through your son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
The Texts for December 27, 2015
First Reading: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26,
“The boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with the people.” – Luke’s nativity story echoes with themes and language from the birth of the prophet Samuel who led Israel and anointed David as king.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17
“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –This exhortation from Colossians beautifully summarizes the shape and character of life in Christ.
Gospel: Luke 2:21-24, 39-52 (appointed, Luke 21:42-52)
“Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” – The infant Jesus is presented in the temple and greeted by Simeon and Anna, representatives of faithful Israel. Then Luke tells us of Jesus as a young man, after observing Passover, staying behind in the Jerusalem temple when his family departs (traveling with the crowd of extended family and neighbors from their village).