December 27, 2015 – Growing up with Jesus

First Sunday after Christmas   December 27, 2015   Psalm 148, 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26; Luke 2:21-40, 41-52   Growing up with Jesus ************************************** Unto us a child is born… just two short days ago. Already he’s almost a teenager. Tomorrow he’ll be grown up… and gone. Luke is the gospel that tells us the most about the birth of Jesus, and the only gospel that tells us anything about the years between his birth and the start of his public ministry. In our readings today, we see infant Jesus, raised in the faith from the womb, his birth greeted by angels – now presented in the temple according to the law of the Lord. This family is deeply rooted and grounded in Godly ways. Mary and Joseph know the word of God; know the verse from Proverbs that says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Now as they present their infant son to God in the temple, Jesus is recognized immediately by two elderly prophets of Israel, Simeon and Anna. Luke gave us the first original Advent hymns, in the songs of Mary (her Magnificat) and of Zechariah, both of which are in our hymnals to this day. Luke gives us the material for our favorite Christmas hymns, in his telling of the angels’s proclamation of the birth and the response of shepherds and the holy family. Now, a few days later, Simeon gives us the first real after-Christmas carol, singing “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Simeon also accurately predicts Jesus will be causing the rising and falling of many in Israel – and a sword will metaphorically pierce his mother’s heart… Anna, the prophet, also recognizes Jesus as Messiah, the promised one of Israel, and tells all within hearing the good news. The name Anna is actually Hannah in Greek, the same name as the mother of Samuel, who prays in the temple for a son and pledges her first born to the Lord. (We heard their story a few weeks ago.) Now we get the update to that story, hearing how Hannah brings new clothing every year to young Samuel, and as we’ve heard in our reading from First Samuel: “Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and with people.” So when we hear in our gospel reading: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor” – we recognize the link to the older biblical story – of a child presented to God in the temple. We know we’re continuing in a story that began many generations before us… And here in our last reading, Jesus is already twelve, going on thirty. He’s gone with his family to celebrate the festival of Passover in Jerusalem. (As, we’re told, his family does every year.) On the journey home his parents notice they haven’t seen Jesus all day. They search for him, first, among family and friends. (Villagers often traveled together for safety and companionship.) When he’s nowhere to be found, they return to Jerusalem, anxiously...

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December 29, 2013 – First Sunday after Christmas

Matthew 2:7-23 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.” *** Dec 29, 2013   Ex 1:8,15-22 (reading below),  Matthew 2: 7-23   Dreams for the journey ******************************************************** Jesus comes into the world,  proclaimed by prophets, revealed by a star, and wrapped in dreams. The story, so very familiar, yet still ever mysterious – of Magi from the East, following the star, bowing in worship before the infant king, presenting their gifts…. And the probably not-quite-so-familiar-story of the holy family’s flight into Egypt, then back again to Israel. With King Herod infamously reminding us of Pharaoh of old, murdering Israel’s children....

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