Merry Christmas, everyone!
I hope today brings all of you joy and laughter as you spend time with family and loved ones and are reminded of the love we share in Christ, revealed to us in the form of a baby born to us. We have been doing what we can to prepare for Christmas in our family, making sure the gifts are bought and wrapped, the baking is baked, and the sermons are written (ok, maybe that last one is just for me, but to be fair, the first two were just for my wife).
One thing that I really wanted to have for Christmas was for our gas fireplace to be working. The kids have been asking for it for a while, and I was reading about how much a gas fireplace actually warms the house more efficiently and cost effectively than electrical heat, so I thought it’d be best to get the old pilot light working and fire it up (in the most literal sense).
It was harder than I thought. I took off some panels, opened some things that I don’t think were supposed to be opened, and actually had to read the instructions that someone most inconveniently and securely fastened upside down underneath everything.
For the life of me, I couldn’t get it working. I did everything the instructions said to do. But then… it happened. I turned the knob a bit more counterclockwise, as the “pilot” setting actually had a very small and barely visible notch which I was supposed to line up with a much larger and visible arrow. The knob was pushed in and within minutes we had a roaring fire warming our bodies, hearts, and souls.
But the best part was when Ryan asked if he could have a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and enjoy it by the fire. I don’t know where this kid gets these things from, honestly.
Let’s look at next week’s readings:
As you may have noticed, we’re going to celebrate Epiphany early this year. Because Epiphany lands on January 6th every year (12 days after Christmas Day), it doesn’t always land on a Sunday. So we’re going to force it this year (and every year for the last 3-4 years, really). Why? Because I think Epiphany is an important day, as well as an important season. You see, Epiphany is the day we remember God’s love revealed in the person of Jesus. God’s hand outstretched to not only those who were considered as insiders, but to all people, regardless of ethnicity, culture, social status, and even creed.
This is shown to us in the story of the Magi, travelling a great distance from foreign lands, making their way to see and pay homage to the Christ-child, the Saviour of the world. Once they got there, once they saw the child, once they recognised the holiness and majesty in the seemingly ordinary kid, their lives were changed forever. They now knew that God can be seen in the world, that God’s mysterious works can be recognised, that God’s voice of love and grace can be heard.
Like how I finally figured out our fireplace that then changed how my son enjoys his hot chocolate with marshmallows, our recognition of God and God’s presence in the world can change how we interpret life, how we handle situations, and how we react to all the things thrown at us.
For we are reminded at Christmas that God is with us. And in Epiphany, we are reminded to recognise just how God is with us.
That is, in love, in life, in joy, in peace, and in forgiveness shown to all people, of all time, in all places.
Thanks be to God! Have a Merry Christmas, everyone, and a wonderful New Year!