Epiphany of the Lord

This is the day in the church year that, principally but not solely, the visit of the Three Wise Men is commemorated. It is the recognition of the baby Jesus as the human son of God by the Gentile community, as symbolized by the Wise Men; and the recognition of the grown man Jesus the Messiah by the Gentiles he encountered during his ministry on earth. I, personally, do not consider the Christmas season over until after January 6th.

As is the pattern, there is an Old Testament passage, a Praise passage, a passage from the Epistles and a Gospel passage. I am using parts of the noted passage of the Old Testament, the Epistles passage, and the Gospel passage. Normally each day I post I would only use one passage, but I wanted to make good use of what the Revised Common Lectionary has. The day that the Epiphany of the Lord is celebrated has the same four scripture passages each year. I think that our theme this year of renewal and recommitment of our faith fits into these scripture passages.

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.” (Isaiah 60:1-6)

I am ever aware, beloved reader, that these Old Testament passages were written far in advance of the birth of Jesus. While we, and biblical commentators, have the hindsight to see that these verses can refer to the coming of the magi and the recognition of Jesus as Messiah, they were not written with that intent. So if we can bend these verses to being applied to the infant Jesus and the grown Jesus, why indeed should we not heed them as a call to return to faith.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him . . .” (Matthew 2:1-3)

The fears of King Herod became the fears of “all Jerusalem”? I do not think so. But as goes the King, so goes the kingdom. Which is why it is so important, beloved reader, to be sure the correct king is ruling over you. Let us continue reading.

. . . and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ “ (Matthew 2:4-6)

But it was not just for Israel that Jesus came; but for all people who are called by God. The magi were called through their own study of the stars, skies, and prophecies, just as we are called through various means. But there is more.

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:7-11)

Is it not joy to our hearts when we first found Jesus and acknowledged Jesus and God as rulers of our lives? But consider this beloved reader; the magi, the three wise men already knew what they would find. And still in the finding of it (Jesus) they were overwhelmed, and opened all they had and presented it to Jesus. So when we confess our need for Jesus, and find our Lord God all over again, it is right and proper to present all that we have and are to God and Christ Jesus.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” (Matthew 2:7-12)

When we have asked the Lord into our lives, we do not carry on with the same sort of life we had. We change our direction and go a different way, journeying on in the Christian life. That the magi returned to their own country does not mean they were not moved and lived their lives any differently. We too live in the same world that we were in before we put on our faith. And even when we renew that faith, we will still live in this world.

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given to me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:1-4)

There was, as you may very well know beloved reader, a distinct divide between what was for the Jews and what was for the non-Jews. Even though the Jews may not have followed God very well, the Lord was their God and no one else’s. So it hurt, and it took time for them to share Jesus. But Jesus and our Lord had always intended that the news of God was to be shared.

In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow-heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.” (Ephesian 3:5-12)

As the writer of Ephesians said, God’s eternal purpose was carried out in Jesus. But it is an eternal purpose, one that is with out end. What that means for us is this, even if we go astray from God we can return and Christ Jesus has insured that is possible. In boldness and confidence we can return to God through our faith in Christ whom God sent to us and whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Selah!

Second Sunday After Christmas Day: Going forward after Christmas

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, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.” (Ephesians 1: 3 + 4)

The epistles, which are always the third set of readings in the Revised Common Lectionary (the Old Testament and the Psalm being the first and second respectfully) are filled with instruction and exhortation, a characteristic of the writer(s) of the epistles. It is always good to read them section by section so you do not miss what is being said. And since we are at the beginning of the book of Ephesians there is a invocation to the God that the writer(s) of the epistles is directing the reader to. In this invocation is teaching and instruction as to who the God is that the writer(s) believes in. And what this God means to us.

He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 3:5-10)

The beginning of the letter to the Ephesians moves from the invocation into more intense teaching about God and Christ. The writer of the letter to the Ephesians freely shifts from talking about God to Christ because that writer felt they were one and the same, although each connects to different aspects of faith.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that this particular teaching is a reassurance that God and Jesus Christ always and continually invites and welcomes believers who are renewing their faith and recommitting their lives to God and Jesus Christ.

In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 3:11-14)

The writer of Ephesians makes a very strong case indeed for realizing that once professing belief in God and Jesus Christ, one is accepted and love by the Divine. It is difficult to imagine why one would go astray from a love and caring that is so deep and intense. But we know it happens. We know this because we have all done it. But just because we turn away from God, that does not mean God turns away from us. Let us remember the words of the writer of Ephesians as we renew and recommit to the God who loves us so!

 

Sometimes the Revised Common Lectionary will highlight certain passages but make reference to a section before or after the highlighted passage. John chapter 1 verses ten to eighteen is the highlighted passage but the previous section of verses, one to ten is also noted.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (verses 1-9)

The Sunday we are journeying to is the second Sunday after Christmas day, and as such is less about Jesus’ birth then it is of Christ Messiah coming into the world. The gospel of John picks up Jesus’ life story at the point when Jesus was called to his ministry. John the Baptist has made his presence known both the people in the surrounding area and the religious officials. Everything was posed for adult Jesus’ arrival and what would follow.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 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. (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.”’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 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.” (John 1: 10-18)

Much of Galilee, Nazareth and Bethlehem had probably forgotten, or never knew, about the birth of a baby in a manager in a stable. What happened then became connected to what was to come only through reflection after the fact.

We spent four weeks working up to and preparing for Christmas, and in one day it is gone. However the gifts of that last for a long time. Not as long though, beloved reader as the gift of the baby Jesus. This scripture passages of this week start to carry us forward into the new year and further into to the Christian year. There are one or two other events of Jesus’ early life yet to come, but we will take that up next week.

It is my hope and prayer beloved reader that your Christmas was filled with wonder, joy, love and light. And that your new year holds great promise. Selah!

Second Sunday After Christmas Day: Asking God to be with us

For thus says the Lord: Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘Save, O Lord, your people, the remnant of Israel.’
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labour, together; a great company, they shall return here.” (Jeremiah 31:7-8)

The themes we were introduced to in Advent and Christmas, renewal and re-commitment to God continue throughout the who lectionary year. Because God has in the past promised to save and deliver the Lord’s people, we can feel confident that if we call on God, God will save us also.

“With weeping they shall come, and with consolations[a] I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9)

The people of Israel wandered away from God many times, and whatever mess they got into, God set about bringing them back.

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coast lands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.’
For the
Lord has ransomed Jacob, and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall become like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again.(Jeremiah 31:10-12)

Whatever you think you have lost, beloved reader, will be restored to you. Well, maybe not restored in the way you think it will. The writer of Jeremiah wrote this as the words of God and as a promise to God’s people. But if you would do a careful accounting of material things, then maybe not all was restored to them. But we have been told, and we know it as a truth, that we should not place value on material things. What then, you may ask, do we have to look forward to?

“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:13-14)

I don’t know about you, beloved reader, but I would trade in my material possessions for the Lord’s bounty – joy instead of mourning, and gladness instead of sorrow!

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

In the Revised Common Lectionary the Psalm passage often functions as simply an praise exuberance. It is a glad voice and chorus raised up to God that may not be specifically applicable to our own situation; but is usually pretty good about matching to the Old Testament reading. I think you can see when you read Psalm 147 that what is being given thanksgiving for is what was promised in the passage from Jeremiah. One thing I want to point out, however, is that this told as being exclusive to God’s people, Israel. If one knows God’s ordinances, though, you can assume that person is part of the family of God. And the family of God is throughout the world. That is one of the other wondrous things about the Revised Common Lectionary; it is used throughout the world and binds us together as God’s people. Selah!

Second Sunday After Christmas Day: New Year’s Day

The passages from Ecclesiastes and Revelation are two of the scripture passages that the Revised Common Lectionary uses for New Year’s Day – which this year is on a Thursday and not my usual posting day. But since New Year’s Eve is a very typical time to make resolutions for the new year. I think it quite appropriate to look at this scripture passage and decide what in the new year we have time for and will make time for.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

What will you make time for, beloved reader? And what will you not take time to do?

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13)

Does it surprise you that God wants us to enjoy life and living? We are all familiar with those who don’t seem to know what God does for them and what God wants them to do. But so often, too often, we assume God means for us to work hard. Nose to the grind stone and suffering for God – isn’t that the way we consider the Christian life? But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this new year, why don’t we resolve to “cast our burdens upon the Lord” and bring our problems to God.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ “(Revelation 21:1-4)

A new heaven and a new earth – a new beginning of humanity. The beginning of the new year is something like this. The days are fresh and new – no sin has yet been committed, no hatred or violence has been expressed. And God is with us.

But we know as the days of the new year count themselves out, there will be sin; and because evil is still in the world, there will be hatred and violence. In fact, it is very likely before the the new year is but a few minutes old there will be sin, hatred, violence and many other tragedies.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 21:5-6a)

God is the only one who can make all things new, and keep all things from sin. And God has already accomplished what needs to be done to insure that in the world to come that newness will endure. But right now, it may be a new year, but it is the “old” us. Take heart, beloved reader. God is with us and God is seated on the holy throne. The Lord was there in the beginning, and the Lord will be there at the end of all years. Selah!

Second Sunday After Christmas Day: Holy Name of Jesus Day

This is a day in the liturgical year that celebrates the naming of Jesus. Usually celebrated on Jan 1, being eight days after Jesus birth when he would have been dedicated and circumcised. The Revised Common Lectionary does not always have verses used on the days specified by biblical chronology. And since I do not post on Friday, which is January first this year, I decided to use the following scripture passages this day.

Psalm 8 is wonderfully suited to this day. Stop and think a moment on the coincidence of the writer of Psalms writing this praise to God far in advance of any humanly known plan for Jesus’ birth. But God, in the way that God is all-knowing knew. From the time that it was written, down through the years, it has been a celebration of the Almighty God, and a thanksgiving that humanity has been so adored by God as to promote the gift of God’s son to us.

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8)

God from the very beginning of calling out the Lord’s people had desired to set them apart as a testimony to the Lord’s involvement in humanity. In some respects the birth of Jesus was the beginning of a new relationship between God and humanity. But in other respects it was a culmination of what God had always hoped would be the relationship between the God-self and humanity.

The Book of Numbers is a culling together of God’s people, forming them by laws and rules, teaching them how to get along. It is often misunderstood and used out of context. Some of its laws and rules do not (or should not) apply now. It’s main attempt, I think, is to give structure to God’s people’s lives. They were to be God’s people – often getting wrong the way the should live, and substituting strict admonitions for caring compassion. In that respect, not much has changed. But God’s intentions are clear.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, . . . . So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Number 6:22-23, 27)

The blessing that was given to God’s people at that time is a blessing that has been passed down generation to generation. I have used it several times, and each occasion is marked especially in my mind. I give it to you, beloved reader, as a reminder that who ever you are, you are favored and loved by God, known and named as a child of God . Selah!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”

(Numbers 6:24-26)

First Sunday After Christmas Day: The Post-Christmas Story

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-23)

Now, as then, children are brought before God, thanking the Divine for new life. And asking the Divine for strength, guidance, and wisdom to raise the child well. Family and friends gather around to support the parents and the child. Celebrations are held and there is rejoicing. However, Mary and Joseph were probably alone, without family. But God provided these young parents and this holy child with support nonetheless.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:24-32)

Do you think, beloved reader, that these young parents might have felt a bit bewildered? It was challenging enough taking care of a new born infant in an unfamiliar city, but to raise up a son who would do all the things prophesied about him. Many new parents need advice and assurance, blessing and encouragement and I am glad to read that Mary and Joseph received this. But that was not all that they received. They were told early on that their son would be special, bringing to mind what the angel told Mary and Joseph, and added to by these experiences during the early days of Jesus’ life.

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:33-35)

One of the things I never tire of reading in the nativity story is that Mary pondered things in her heart. I think that is one of the reasons she was chosen as the mother of Jesus. She could hear all these things, think about them in her heart, and yet carry on doing the tasks that were expected of her as a wife and mother. She was not alone is this trait as a woman and a woman of God.

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”(Luke 2:36-37)

It is my hope that Mary received good advice and support, not only in being a young wife but also being a mother to a very special child. I suspect that God, over the years, provided both Mary and Joseph with the support they needed.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.(Luke 2:38-40)

At this point the gospels grow silent. What stories there are about Jesus’ growing up years are apocryphal in nature. Perhaps it is enough to know that during the years that Jesus to adulthood, God granted resources and blessing so the years past smoothly. And the epistles give fuller evidence that God has chosen and ordained that it would be so.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

Just God prepared the way for Jesus to grow into the Christ, God has also prepared a way for us to grow into being children of God. Being fully human, we sometimes lose our way and need to come back crying out “Abba”, recommitting and renewing ourselves through God’s grace and mercy, so that we might be still and again children of God. Selah!

Week of Christmas, Proper III: Let us celebrate that the wait is over!

The scripture passages of Proper III are ones of celebration and praise. Let us enter into the celebration, and praise our Lord for the wondrous gift of the coming Savior!

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. “ (Hebrews 1:1-2 [from verses 1 – 4])

Through the days and weeks of Advent you have spoken to us, our Lord. We have set aside time to listen. Bless the days that come after our celebration of Christ Jesus’ birth. Inspire us to share what we have heard from you, our Lord.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” (Isaiah 52:7 [from verses 7- 10])

The good news of Christ Jesus has reached us, and we are moved by God’s love and compassion on us. We have been called as the Lord’s messengers to carry the news of peace and salvation. Bless our feet as we spread this good news. And bless our words as we speak of God and Christ Jesus.

O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.” (Psalms 98: 1-3)

A new song we sing; today it may be like a lullaby to the sleeping holy child. But let us remember, it is not just a child that has come into the world, but God breaking into our world to bring us new joy and new hope. The victory that is God and Christ Jesus comes in many ways into our world. So as Christ grew, may our faith grow also.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.”(Psalms 98:4-6)

Our hearts are filled with joy, and all of creation sings with us in praising our Lord and God! The long wait is over. The days of darkness are past. For we have a King who is above all other kings and whose glory will last forever!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:6-9)

Our King has come! Let us renew our faith and recommit our lives to our Lord and King. He that was born in a stable grew to be our Savior. He knows our hearts and our minds. Let us raise up a joyful noise to the Lord. Let us also raise up our hearts; but then bow our heads in prayer pledging our lives to the God who has given us hope for this world and the world to come. Selah!