01 Jan Pastor’s Paragraph for January 3, 2021
Pastor's Paragraph for January 3, 2021
JANUARY 3, 2021
As the new year begins, January is when we often can’t help but find ourselves reflecting on the past year, dreaming about the year to come, and making resolutions for the new year. I’ve made resolutions in January throughout the years, and I have broken resolutions (also in January). Suspecting that I am not alone, I did a little online searching for statistics on resolutions and found some interesting information. One source suggested that 80% of the resolutions we make fail by February 1st, and only 8% of our resolutions last for the entire year. I also found that some recognize January 17th as Quitters Day—the day by which most of us quit our resolutions. These numbers are somewhat discouraging. They sound like we are just setting ourselves up for failure as the year begins. But there is also Epiphany!
We celebrate Epiphany on the 6th of January, which marks the day that the Magi visited the Christ Child; it is also the 12th day of Christmas. Matthew 2:1-12 gives us the narrative of the Magi, who were making their journey to Jesus to present their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts underscore who Jesus is—a King, worthy of our worship, who will die for all of humanity.
Several years ago, I received a clay nativity made in South America. What captured my imagination in this nativity is that the set came with only two Magi. Instead of carrying the traditional, scriptural gifts, these Magi are carrying a basket of corn and a basket of potatoes. The artist who created this nativity set has challenged me to think about the significance of these gifts of the Magi. What I imagine is that these Magi are bringing to Jesus the harvest of their livelihoods. I imagine that they are bringing the best of what they have to offer. And when I think about that, I wonder what it might mean for us if we started this new year, not making resolutions that we are likely to quit by Quitter’s Day, but rather, by considering what of ourselves in this new year do we want to bring to Jesus? Like the Magi in my nativity, what of our lives is the best we can offer?
Rev. Dr. Kathleen Kind