First Sunday After Christmas (Year A)
Scripture Readings*: Isaiah 61:10-62-3, Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7, John 1:1-18, Psalm 147
Being dressed in such garments showed the wearer to be an invited guest, with a right to join the celebration. Paul uses the image of salvation’s clothing in Romans 13:14 and Ephesians. 4:22–24. Christ used it in several parables, as in where the guests were dressed in special garments provided by the host (Matt. 22:11–14).
Only if we are clothed with God’s salvation will we enjoy life in the future kingdom of the Lord.
Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7
Sonship has made a radical change in the situation of the believer. Under Old Testament Law Israel was held prisoner, “locked up” to keep them out of trouble until Jesus came (3:23). Now sons, God has given believers His Spirit. The cry “Abba, Father,” implies a clear distinction between slave and family member. Only a child has the privilege of such warm and direct address. Only a child has such immediate access to a parent. Paul’s point is that “sons” have no need to be locked up and no need of a guardian. As sons we have direct access to God and also a matchless resource that enables us to be holy—the Holy Spirit Himself.
John reveals Jesus as God’s gift to us. He stresses that Jesus is both identical with the God of the Old Testament, yet uniquely distinct from Him. This concept, though mysterious, has become common to us. However, in the first-century, this revelation was shocking. The Jews emphasized the uniqueness and unity of the Old Testament’s “one God.” The pagans imagined a class of beings they called ‘”gods.” But John affirms that God is one, yet exists in distinct, separate personalities.
He reveals Christ as God’s gift to be received. Believing in Jesus involves seeing Him presented as God’s Son, accepting that description as real, and simply stretching our your hand to accept God’s gift of eternal life. You then become what you were not: a child of God.
Start at the Very Beginning
In the beginning. What powerful words! Before the worlds were created, He was there. Before Neil Armstrong took one small step for man, Christ was there as the moon was spoken into existence. Christ was there before Abraham and the establishment of God’s people. Before the Plague and penicillin. Before Einstein and E=mc2. Before you and me.
God is the author of beginnings. And in Jesus Christ, He authors our new beginnings. Through Christ, we are no longer slaves but children. We are freed from sin and death, invited to begin a new life in Jesus Christ that leads to eternal and unending life. And when we fail, when we fall, Christ is waiting for us, extending His hand and offering to help us begin again. In the beginning – in our beginning – was the Word… and we have seen His glory. Thanks be to God!
Prayer for First Sunday After Christmas – “Gracious God, through the Gift of Your Son, You give me new and unending life. Pour out this life in and through me. Blessed be God now and forever. Amen.”
*Readings are from the NRSV and the Revised Common Lectionary, Year A