Not Bummed This January!
On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
This is a special time of year. Sure, the weather is iffy, and it is kind of sad, taking the Christmas tree and all its ornaments down. I am also bummed, because the college football bowl season is coming to a close. Yet, there is still some joy. One, it is football playoff time! It is also a special time of year in the Christian calendar. That might surprise you. I mean, Christmas is over, and Lent and Easter are still months away. But we are still in an extraordinary time of year.
Yesterday we celebrated Epiphany, with the powerful impact of the three magi. The magi “from the east,” were one of the first to view the incarnate God, the infant Jesus, the Christ. Their impact may not be immediately noticed. Being “from the east,” these three were Gentiles. What a radical reality! Jesus, the infant, embraced the Gentiles, as Jesus the adult would provide opportunities for the Gentiles to be invited into the fold.
Epiphany alone, would make this time of year special, but no, we are not done yet. Next Sunday we will celebrate The Baptism of our Lord. In remembering our baptism, we join our baptism with that of Jesus, and all the saints who have gone before us, including the magi. This event is not just a recognition of the washing away of sins, but also a covenantal act of being incorporated into God’s kingdom and its community. It reminds us of the loving care and commitment God provides us today, tomorrow, and for all eternity.
You see, this is a very special week. Don’t get bummed out by the weather and the lack of Christmas decorations. Embrace the exclusive message of baptism and its invitation to all people, including Gentiles like you and me. Very few of us have generational ties reaching back to the original Israelites. Thankfully, our God decided to include the rest of us. That is a reason to keep on celebrating! Today, offer God a prayer of thanksgiving, for being willing to include you, your family, your friends, and the whole world. Thank goodness God went from being understood as a national deity, to the one true God. Thank goodness! Praise God!