Scriptures for January 2nd: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Theme: Epiphany Song: This Little Light of Mine – UMH 585
Isaiah: The Israelites had been away from their homes for 39 years. They had no idea of what to expect, or what to do when they got back. When they returned after their life having been abandoned, they found total devastation, a thick darkness. There was nothing. Isaiah had to say something to them that would get them motivated to rebuild and not to lose total hope. He uses the powerful words of Isaiah – arise and shine, your light has come. Those words are so powerful, they still inspire us today. We can be grateful that our nation has never totally been destroyed, but there are times when our lives are. When we look at the world we see hopeless situations that no amount of work can help. With God’s help and intervention, anything is possible. We have to believe that.
Matthew : This is the first Sunday of Epiphany – the first Sunday of the star. In Matthew, the wise men come to visit Mary at her house, and they give her baby gifts. In our minds, this happens soon after the baby was born, and in our minds, Herod finds out quickly. In reality, this is over a spa n of a few years. But the eternal point for us is that salvation is not just for the Jews. It is for anyone who is wise enough to accept it. Epiphany is the point when we realize that our actions are not our own, but they are God’s. God is working in our lives, to make a difference not only for ourselves, but for the whole world. What is God revealing anew to you this year?
Questions: When in your life have you experienced total darkness? What darkness is present in the world today? How does God come as the light? What is your greatest source of joy in difficult times? Was Jesus really King of the Jews? Was he a threat to Herod? What convinces us to make Jesus our King? How do we pay homage to Jesus in our lives?