The 2nd Sunday of Christmas; Year C (January 3, 2016)

Lessons:Jeremiah 31:7-14 or Sirach 24:1-12 Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21 Ephesians 1:3-14 St. John 1: [1-9] 10-18

Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, you have filled all the earth with the light of your incarnate Word. By your grace empower us to reflect your light in all that we do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[1:1 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.

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St. John 1: [1-9] 10-18 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Growing as a Family

I am grateful to have spent the last week with my family in Minnesota. We dashed out from Saint Peter even before worship had ended on Christmas Day and caught a flight to Minneapolis. We were able to sit down to Christmas Day dinner with my family for the first time since 1983. And it has been quite a while since all the cousins have been in the same room at the same time. We had a great visit, and it was well-timed — especially with my mom getting on in years.

It reminded me, once again, of how important family is to faith development. When I was little, I was loved into the Christian faith by my family. I prayed every night with my parents. I sat on the piano bench and sang hymns and carols with my grandmother. My grandfather’s steady faithfulness was an inspiration. I worshiped every week with my whole family. I certainly learned about the faith in Sunday School and Catechism. And to a certain degree I practiced it during youth gatherings. But I was loved into the faith by my family. As often is the case.

This coming Sunday, at Saint Peter, we are going to experience some of the same. People of all ages are invited to join us at 9:40 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall to celebrate our faith. We’ll invite families to experience this event together. And those who are not with their families will gather with others — both of their own generation and of various generations — as we eat, pray, sing Christmas carols, and explore the belief that Jesus is the Word Made Flesh among us; the fullness of God, who grants us grace.

Our youngest participants will do some coloring, and focus on images of the Word, images of Jesus, and images of our faith. Those a bit older (and some a lot older!) will explore the power of the word, remembering that there are words which have the capacity to bless us and words which have the capacity to hurt us. The adults will be invited to talk a bit about the Word of God that spoke creation into existence. Creation is a gift that God has entrusted to us, and for which God calls us to be the caretaker.

Our hope is that during this gathering we might learn together what God intends by becoming one of us as the Word Made Flesh. We hope that we might model for one another and glimpse in one another what a faithful life looks like. And most importantly (most importantly!) we hope to encourage families to explore the Christian faith together in their homes.

St. John writes, “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.” (verse 18) Jesus has made God known to us in powerful ways. It is now our turn to make God known to others, especially those who are family to us, that we might all draw closer to the promise of our faith.

Come join us this Sunday at 9:40 a.m. if you can. You never know what you might see!

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What did Jesus reveal to his followers about God?
  2. What does St. John reveal to his readers about God?
  3. How did the Christian faith spread from a few believers to thousands of them?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. Who first shared faith with me?
  2. When have I glimpsed genuine faith in the lives of other people?
  3. How is my faith evident by the way I live?