And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and
see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying
in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was
told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them
by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child,
his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was
conceived in the womb.
Help me to live for you today. Help me to speak your truth and live your
love wherever I am and whomever I meet. AMEN.
Happy New Year . . . Welcome
2006 . . .
In the Jewish faith, seven days after a male child is born the community
comes together to welcome him and ten Jewish adult men, constituting a
minyan gather for prayer, and to bear witness to the fulfillment of the
promise made by Abraham so many years before: that each of his descendents
would carry the visible sign of the covenant between him and God: each
would be circumcised. God’s promise of mercy would be shared by each Jew
who made that commitment. It is the Jewish equivalent of baptism.
And so, seven days after His birth, the ritual was performed, the promises
offered, the cut made, the name given. And after that day the child bore
the name of Jesus, “God Saves”, as the angel had foretold.
This, then, is the day we celebrate as Christ straddled the great
transition of faith . . . observing the traditions and fulfilling the
teachings of the Old Testament . . . while bringing joy and salvation for
those who would choose to follow him in a new covenant of life
So how shall we celebrate this new day? This, the day, when all is new? .
. . this, the first day of a new year . . . this, the day that speaks of
new beginnings . . . new opportunities . . . new resolves . . . new
promises . . . For in Christ, all is new.
Now, I would like to suggest that to make all those “news” really
effective, this is the time for a Spring cleaning. We don’t have to wait
for April or May for this one, because the only windows to wash are on the
soul and the beating of rugs is replaced by a new drum. We can Spring
clean the old and worn, the tired, defeated and discouraged notions we’ve
clung to for far too long. We can dust out those cubby holes of our mind
that hold the negative and antiquated ideas: the ones that say “can’t” and
“won’t work” and “never been done” . . . whenever we get a new idea or
want to try a first time.
It’s a time to turf out the baggage we have carted around since childhood:
from classrooms and nasty relatives, from snobby neighbours, crabby social
workers and miserable bosses.
The first of January is a fine time to examine our lives. What do we need
to do to make things better? What do we need to do to share our blessings?
What do we need to do to heal old wounds?
First, for a soul check . . .
• are we growing in faith?
• are we reading the Bible and learning of Christ?
• are we listening for the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit?
• are we attending church?
• are we praying?
• are we making God our priority?
Are we heading in the right direction? Are we worrying about what other
people are doing? . . . rather than what we are up to?
Are we living lives we are proud of?
We can make resolutions to forgive rather than resent. We can believe
rather than doubt. We can plant an oak tree for future generations to
enjoy the shade.
And who wins with these lovely resolutions? Why, you do, of course! When
you follow in the path that Christ laid out for us, life inevitably is
Have you ever noticed that when you clean out your cupboard and get rid of
the clothes you haven’t worn for years;
or toss out all those jars and containers in your fridge with just a dab
of this or that;
or finally get rid of all the papers on your desk and the debris thrown
out . . .
you feel lighter, the world brighter and you, more in control.
Getting rid of all the old, hung-onto, grief's and grievances is the same
thing. You just feel incredibly free and relieved.
And that is what the New Year is all about . . . the clean mind and the
open heart . . . and the New Testament . . . and the new life that Jesus
gave to us. So I wish you a very happy and joyous and blessed New Year:
may we all live our lives to the fullest degree, rejoicing in the great
gift of newness and renewal that Christ’s birth brings to us each year. A
M E N .