Happy New Year! My week off has ended and the kids are back at school tomorrow. The festivities have concluded and we’re heading back into routine. The decorations are down at our home (I know it’s a little early, but either that or they’ll be up until spring break) and life is moving back into the usual.
Usual as in ordinary, nothing special, blend-in-the-background kind of usual.
And I guess it’s kind of sad to leave the holidays behind. Our kids were protesting as we took down the decorations. I’m not looking forward to having to fight with them to get ready in the mornings for school. The magic seems to be dissolving at a pace that is quicker than comfortable.
But as I tried to enjoy the last lazy morning with the kids today, joking with them how tomorrow they’re back at school, I realised that while these holidays and such are fun, being outside of them doesn’t change our relationships. It doesn’t change who we intrinsically are. It doesn’t change the love that we give and receive.
Sure, we might not be able to sleep in and play games into the wee hours of the night, but we continue to be a family connected not just by blood but by heart, as a community of diverse people with different wants and needs but equally loved by the same God. Also, we can always look forward to spring break.
This Sunday is Baptism of Our Lord Sunday, which could also be known as the 1st Sunday after the Epiphany. The Epiphany always lands on January 6 (that is the day after the 12th day of Christmas, and technically when the decorations should come down…) and it is when we commemorate the Magi seeing the toddler Jesus for the first time, worshipping him and paying him homage. Some years we have an “Epiphany Sunday” which isn’t really a thing, just so we get those themes in us that year. But this year, this Lectionary year A where we focus on the gospel of Matthew, we’re flying past the day of Epiphany and right into the season after the Epiphany (also called “time after the Epiphany) which again, starts with the Baptism of Our Lord Sunday.
But to me, the themes of the day of Epiphany aren’t lost. See, Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan river, and fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament. We know this, and we know what happens next. When Jesus comes out of the water, a voice from heaven declares, “This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
The cool thing about Matthew’s account is that the voice declares this in the third person, meaning the voice is pointing this fact out to every witness to the event. Contrast that with Mark’s and Luke’s account, which both say “you are my son” thus in the second person, talking directly to Jesus.
And so to me, this screams Epiphany themes, because it is a revealing of who Jesus is. Not just to Jesus, but to all people. But this is also Baptism of Our Lord themes (appropriately so, given the day), as the way this declaration is revealed is through Jesus being baptized.
Just as it’s revealed about us through our baptism.
See, just as Jesus was declared a child of God through his baptism, so were we. Just has Jesus was named as the beloved by the Holy Spirit, so have we. And just has Jesus is identified as pleasing to God, so are we.
This doesn’t change with the time of year, whatever season we’re in, or even how we’re feeling about it. We are God’s beloved people, with whom God is well pleased.
Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!