Creative God, you make all things new in heaven and on earth. We come to you in a new year with new desires and old fears, new decisions and old controversies, new dreams and old weaknesses. Because you are a God of hope, we know that you create all the possibilities of the future. Because you are a God of love, we know that you accept all the mistakes of the past. Because you are the God of our faith, we enter your gates with thanksgiving and praise, we come into your presence with gladness and a joyful noise, and we serve and bless you. In the blessed name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Monthly Archives: December 2020
Psalm 96 (ESV)
Worship in the Splendor of Holiness
96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
John 1:1-18 (ESV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
“He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2)
John’s Gospel begins with a beautiful hymn describing “the Word,” which was with God since the beginning. Any Jewish people reading this passage would have recognized this idea. In the creation story told in Genesis, God “speaks” things into existence – “Let there be light…Let the earth bring forth vegetation,” and so on (Genesis 1:3, 11). It’s a sign of God’s creative power that every single word he utters brings forth something new, vibrant, and wondrous. That’s how powerful God’s Word is.
But as familiar as the idea of God’s creative word must have been, John introduces a whole new revelation: God’s Word is not only creative, it’s not only powerful, and it’s not only eternal. The Word of God is a Person. John wrote that he was with God in the beginning. Then John went even further to say that this Person came and dwelt among us: Jesus, the Messiah!
You may have heard the biblical phrase “the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). It’s a way of talking about how Jesus was at the very beginning of everything and will be at the very end. It’s another way of saying he is the first word and the last word of creation.
We’re at the end of 2020. Can you see how he was thee with you throughout the year? We’re also on the cusp of 2021. Can you now expect him to be with you from the very first millisecond after the clock strikes midnight?
When the Word of God is present, he is active, not just a spectator! He is always speaking new life, forgiveness, guidance, and renewal. He is always speaking redirection, encouragement, insight, and love. The sun rises on a new year because he gladly calls it to. And if anything has fallen into darkness in the past year, he only has to speak, and light will shine on it in the year to come.
So with gratitude, thank Jesus for all the blessings of 2020; with trust, surrender to him its sorrows and disappointments; and with hope, ask him, the Alpha and Omega, to speak words of grace into the year to come.
Word of God, let this day of endings and beginnings be a reminder of your constant presence. Amen.