Today is the start of the calendar year. It’s New Year’s Day, and what better way to start the new year than with a reminder of God’s saving acts in history? The Biblical stories we hear this day are familiar, so it’s hard to remember that they are truly transformative.
We start our service by remembering that humans lived in paradise, but still rebelled against God. That initial break comes from us, but God does not give up on us. Instead, God clothes us, cares for us, and comes to save us.
We skip forward to Isaiah, writing to a people under siege, a people in exile, and he prophecies that God still cares. God is still present, and God will comfort the people, not because they deserve it, but because God loves them. Isaiah speaks to King Ahaz, a king under siege by the Assyrians, and promises that God is powerful. Though the king may be tempted to give up, in two years’ time the city will be free once more, for such is God’s power and constancy.
We then move to the arrival of God in human form. From Mary’s visit to Elizabeth to Simeon’s prophecy in the Temple, we are told that God’s promises are sure. The letter to the Hebrews assures us that we are valued by God, and John’s Gospel reminds us how far back God’s love goes: “In the beginning, was the Word.”
All these stories come together to show us a God who made us, knows us, loves us, and walks this path with us. We are never alone, and it’s not because we tricked God into thinking that we are better than we are. God knows us, indeed, God made us, and God loves us just as we are. Let us celebrate this Good News that changes our lives, and resolve to return to God with joyfulness of heart, in Christ our Lord.
Prayers and Blessings,