January 2024

Dear friends,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It was delightful to see so many of you on Sunday, December 24th. I saw some of you in the morning for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, I saw some of you that afternoon at our Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols service, and I saw some of you at both services. It was a great day to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior alongside all of you. And, to those of you who were traveling or unable to join us, you were missed!

Last Sunday, was New Year’s Eve, and we gathered for worship as usual that morning to celebrate the first Sunday in the season of Christmas. As many of you know, the season of Christmas lasts twelve days, and there’s a famous song to remind us of those Twelve Days of Christmas. Those twelve days will come to close this Saturday, January 6th, as we observe our next holiday, Epiphany. Epiphany is the day we celebrate the Wise Men coming from the East to honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Let’s step back to New Year’s Eve, and the New Year though. A lot of people make New Year’s Resolutions for the New Year. They resolve to adopt new things/habits/behaviors, or they resolve to leave behind old                 things/habits/behaviors. I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I think I’ve got one for this year!

For those of you who weren’t here last Sunday, we tried something new at church on New Year’s Eve, and I’m going to resolve to do it for the whole year. You see, last Sunday was the fifth Sunday of the month, and over this past year I’ve treated the fifth Sunday of the month as a bit of a Wild Card during sermon time. This past Sunday, we looked at the Hymn of the Day which happened to be “What Child is This?” and we discussed the history of the hymn, we dug
into the lyrics and theology of the hymn, and we talked about why hymns are important to us. It was a great conversation, and I’m glad that so many people offered insight and input.

So, after receiving positive feedback, and discussing the idea with others, I have resolved to set aside each Fifth Sunday this year to discuss and dig into some of our hymns during our sermon time. Our hymns are an important part of our liturgy and our faith tradition. Good hymns reinforce good theology, and good theology encourages a deeper love and commitment to both God and Neighbor. We all have favorite hymns, and these fifth Sundays will be a great
opportunity to share with each other why they mean so much to us, and what they have meant to the Church over the decades and centuries.

I look forward to our next Fifth Sunday discussion!

Your Sibling in Christ,
Pastor Robert