January Themes

From Darkness to Light

The winter days of January through the earliest signs of Spring, when the season of Lent begins, are the days of Epiphany, days of watching, observing God, anticipating God at work. We, like the dormant trees might be rather quiet, waiting for the Light of Christ, the warmth of Christ to ignite something within, from which life will flourish. These days, while still active, are about observance, about seeing things as they really are, as God speaks them to be. Together, we listen. We see. 


January 8, 2023 - Epiphany (Observed)

The Magi are mysterious people, but one thing about them is clear: They were listening to the guidance of God. The same is our invitation as the new year unfolds before us. Where is God calling you this year? Sometimes God’s voice is very clear, leading in bright new directions. Sometimes it’s more ordinary (wonderfully so) in the midst of our everyday lives. As God guides, reveals Christ, and calls us deeper into faith, may we listen well. How can you cultivate attentiveness in your life? Where do you miss the signs of God’s presence and action?

Isaiah 60:1–6; Matt. 2:1–12

 

 

January 15, 2023 - Beginning from Identity, The Baptism of Jesus (Observed)

Before anything happens, Jesus walks through the waters. Before anything happens, Jesus’ identity is spoken to him from his Father in Heaven. The heavens open, God speaks, and from this moment, everything begins to happen. As Christ, so us. He is the forerunner, the one whose identity as the Beloved Son of God becomes our own as we too are named among the fold.

Isaiah 42:1–9; Matt. 3:13–17

 

 

January 22, 2023 - The Kingdom and the Calling

From the waters of baptism to these first movements of the kingdom of God unfolding on earth, here we have the great invitation for the first followers of Jesus. Notice that the good news is spoken of as the kingdom of God, of heaven, drawing near. And notice that the first followers not only followed, but left something behind. Many see a pattern in this. As the first month of the year passes its midpoint, we are invited to hear yet again the voice of Jesus calling us to participate in his reign on earth as it is in heaven. But what does this look like?

Isaiah 9:1–4; Matt. 4:12–25

 

 

January 29, 2023 - The Unexpected Gift

Not long after calling his first followers into the journey, Jesus begins to speak unexpected blessing. These first words of the Sermon on the Mount are known as the “beatitudes,” or, “blessings.” These are descriptions of the kingdom of God in motion, the upside down effect and difference God makes as he draws near. Do we have eyes to see these things happening even today, that wherever Christ draws near, his presence along with the word about him, new life is in bloom?

Micah 6:1–8; Matt. 5:1–12