Leave it to the Church to ring in the Church Year as only the Church can—with festival times to lift up the goodness of God for all!
Even as we enter into the new year, we find ourselves still walking in the season of Christmas. The twelve days stretch across the calendar’s page turn. Just think, even after the big ball drops in NYC, we Christians are still pondering and marveling at the work of a God who comes as a baby born in a barn.
Sunday, January 6 is the Epiphany of our Lord, marking the coming of the magi. They lay odd gifts before the Christ child and give his parents even more to wonder about. On this day we recall how the wise men came from afar – from countries whose cultures were far different from Jesus’ family. We learn yet again how the good news of this Child’s birth is meant to go all over the world, even as the magi returned to their homes “by a different road.”
This year we will celebrate the Epiphany in the morning at our usual worship times. But we will also observe the day as we have been doing so at PoP for many years. We call it the Feast of Lights. There will be costumed friends, inspiring music from our choir, scripture and prayers. We will also welcome the special music of our handbells, double bass and, yes, banjo.
But there is another festival of the year that meets us in January.
On Sunday, January 13 we observe the Baptism of our Lord. This very traditional time for baptizing is rooted in the story of our Lord’s own baptism by John in the Jordan River. There, from the waters where our Lord emerged, he began his ministry among us. In our Church Year observances, this Baptism of our Lord day pairs significantly with another day that…well, we’ll talk about that one later.
Blessed opportunities abound to serve our Lord, to worship with the sisters and brothers, to learn more about our Lord and his work in our lives, to walk together in the joy-filled confidence that we belong to a mighty God—a God who has gotten us this far and will see us through the new year, too.
A joyous new year, indeed!