John 1:1-18 (click for full reading)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..”
Remembering Christmas (click on the titles below to listen to the sermons)
Did your experience of the Christmas season this year measure up to your expectations? A lot of people feel a sense of disappointment and even some depression after the holiday season winds down. The tree you were so exited to bring into the house is now becoming a fire hazard, with a shower of needles falling to the floor when you brush against it.
The big family gatherings are over. The thought of boxing up all the decorations to put them away is much less appealing than it was to bring them all out after Thanksgiving. Now, it is just plain old January. And yet, there is something about the Good News of Christmas that follows us into the rest of the year.
Every year, I try to sneak back into the church at some point after all of the Christmas Eve services are over. This year, I ventured over in the afternoon on Christmas day. I found a place to sit in the middle of the big empty sanctuary where I could still feel the echoes of the many hundreds of people who had gathered there the night before.
In the peace of the empty sanctuary, I prayed that the Good News got through to each person who came to worship on Christmas Eve. I prayed that those who are grieving or suffering were reminded that Immanuel goes with them into January and beyond. This prayer has been an underlying theme running through all of the sermons here at Prince of Peace during this holy season.
Maybe you missed one of the services or would like to revisit these messages as you reflect on the meaning of Christmas for you this year. You may want to forward this email to a friend or family member who could use some encouragement this January.
Yes, it is time to put the decorations away and drag the tree out to the curb. But the Good News of Christmas is never over. It follows us into a new year. God before us. God behind us. God above us. God below us. God beside us. God with us. Amen.
Today we hear about preparations that we do to make way for Jesus. In today’s Gospel, John comes reminding people to repent (metanoia) and be baptized. But in Isaiah, after we are told to prepare, we are told what is coming – and it’s not what we are expecting.
Daring Peace 12/21/14
On the 4th Sunday of Advent, our congregation gathered to experience a beautiful cantata performed by our choir and many special musicians. The title of the cantata was, And On Earth Peace. That title expresses a hope that feels so far removed from reality. “Peace must be dared”, Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote, “it is the great venture.”
Home For Christmas (Christmas Eve 12/24/14)
Millions of people have made every effort to get back home for Christmas. I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me says a favorite Christmas carol. Yet, even that song hints at the fact that it is often difficult to find our way home as it concludes, if only in my dreams. On this holy night, we will try to find our way home.
Strange Blessings 12/28/14
Today Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple and they receive some unexpected and strange words of blessing. This text could be filed under “things not to say to new parents” but that doesn’t hold anyone back today. Today we look more closely at this strange blessing and listen for what it might mean to us today as we come down off of our own “Christmas high.”
In The Beginning 1/4/15
Today we come to the end of the Christmas season with the first Sunday of the new year. After four whole days, how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? Today we will take a deep breath and give ourselves a break from our never ending lists of do’s and don’ts. Regardless of your own best intentions, today we will focus on God’s plans for you.