The New Church Year – 2022

As we begin the new Church Year there are so many events that crowd into our lives, at times overwhelming us with demands and deadlines:  so many shopping days left; only hours left at a discounted price; only so many of that item left before it is sold out; and on and on and on.  If we are not attentive, not alert, not conscientious we will miss that one opportunity.
Yet, as we begin anew our preparations for the celebration of the incarnation of the Messiah and the humble birth of the Lamb of God our heavenly Father calls to us to Himself.  He bids us to be still and know He is God (Psalm 46: 10).  He gives anew, generously, unhesitatingly all that He has, withholding nothing, supplying all that is needed for body and soul now in time and then in eternity as the fallen world clamors and howls amidst the blinking Christmas lights, the bustling crowds, and the family gatherings to gain and hold our attention (Matthew 7: 7 – 11).  The Holy Spirit speaks again with the still small voice through the prophets and apostles, reminding us of the good tidings of great joy because the Peace of God is with us now (Isaiah 9: 6 -7, Luke 2: 8 – 14).  Hold fast to Him for Jesus is a peace that is far superior to the peace the world offers (John 14: 25 – 31).  Our King is with us and promises to abide with us through this Time of Christmas and, later, the Time of the Church even unto the end of time (Matthew 28: 20). 
The Prince of Peace remains with us long after the 2021 Christmas parties have ended, the gift-wrapping paper is disposed of, the smell of Christmas dinner have dissipated, and relatives and friends have returned home.  Our risen LORD reminds us that this season directs our attention forward from the cradle in Bethlehem through the bloody cross and the empty tomb to our heavenly Father’s mansion (John 14: 1 -3).  This is the Gift which has no equal – God Himself incarnate – divinity wrapped and veiled in flesh without sin.  Immanuel gathers us to His Father and our Father, His God and our God (John 20: 16) where we join our brothers and sisters in Christ this month at the Divine Services during Advent and Christmas as well as who rest in perfect love and peace (Revelation 21: 3 – 7).
Thus, let us begin the new Church Year with the one event that must constantly dominate our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Let it continually fill us with true love and peace.  Let it repeatedly overwhelm us with the greatest sense of urgency that today the Gospel must be proclaims to those who sit in darkness (Isaiah 42: 7, Luke 1: 77 – 79).  Therefore, we must be attentive, alert, conscientious so that we and our neighbor will not miss this holy and eternal gift of eternal life – Christ Jesus.

May the peace of God that passes all human understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen