Second Sunday after Christmas

Second Sunday after Christmas
January 2, 2011: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:1-18

Psalm 147:12-20:
“Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He grants peace within your borders;
he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down hail like crumbs—
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!

John 1: 1-18: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Second Sunday after Christmas Comment: Psalm 147: 15-18 and John 1: 3 present theological concepts of God as all powerful and eternal. These concepts are humanly impossible to grasp and as for me, my soul ‘trembles’ attempting to think of their scope. Our first snowstorm of the season clearly illustrates, “16 (God) gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. 17 He hurls down hail like crumbs—who can stand before his cold?

However, when I read Psalm 147:13-14, I get it! Even though the language is metaphoric, God promises blessings to those who believe and are open to receiving them. God strengthens the ‘bars of the heart’. I imagine of the many possible bars, one is an unshakable confidence in the reality of God. Another is the unwavering expectation that God intervenes and reveals God’s self in the most mundane experiences of our lives. A third bar could be a steadfast sense of gratitude and praise that nothing and no one can separate us from God’s love. This includes us!

In verse 14 we read, “(God) grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat.”
When the opposite state of confusion is raging in our day to day experiences, peace like wheat fills the heart even to its borders. I’m sure that when children are exposed to individuals with ‘strong bars’ and ‘peace filled borders’, in our homes, churches and schools, they will be blessed.

When I read John1:3, I understand that God, the Word, created all that exists. When I see that light is necessary to create and sustain all life, most especially for the function of the human body, I can’t find words to express my awe. However, I have learned how Jesus is the light of the world that exposes the spiritual darkness of hate and violence on all levels. I also know that the light of Jesus’ love heals wounded souls when it shines through the lives of those who know him.

So, I rely on the words of the Psalmist, “Praise the Lord! Praise is the fitting expression to offer a God who knows how to take the metaphor and make it real. Praise is due a God who decided to incarnate love in human form so we could see it and touch it and get hugs and kisses from it. Hallelujah is the only word a soul can express when he or she ‘get’s it’ that God, Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit is eternally with us.

Let us continue to thank God for Christmas…

Rev. Julia
©December 28, 2010

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