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The Gift of the New Year

The new year starts, whether we are ready for it or not. With it’s beginning comes for many the making of resolutions, the taking on of a word for the year, or some new/renewed habit or practice. For some people it is just another trip around the sun and there are no new habits, words, or resolutions. 

The New Year celebration falls in the midst of the 12 day season of Christmas, a season (for many) filled with gatherings, lots of cookies, and gifts given and received. Most importantly Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to the world, God’s very self in the baby Jesus. The season of Christmas ends with Epiphany, on January 6th, when we remember the visitation of the Magi to the Christ child and his parents.

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. -Matthew 2:11

These wise men bring with them gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but also themselves in worship. Before they present the items they bring they give themselves, bowing low in worship of this baby, who’s birth was foretold by a star in the heavens. This gift of worship, of their own presence and attention, is the greatest gift they gave, even though it is the least spoken of and the least remembered. 

As we begin the new year we have the chance not just to better our health, change our spending, or adopt new habits, but also the opportunity to renew our faith and spiritual life, to give ourselves anew to God as the magi gave themselves in worship. This new year I invite you to take time and ask yourself what gift might you offer Christ? How might you rededicate (or dedicate for the first time) yourself to God? While specific acts of service and gifts of money or possessions are important and valued in the Christian life the most important thing we can offer God is our very self. Our love (of God and neighbor), our attention, and our worship are the most prized gifts we can give to God.

Perhaps you are aware of something that has been taking your time and attention away from God, could that time be the thing you offer back? Maybe you have been feeling called to a new or renewed form of mission and ministry in the church, could answering that call be what you give to God this year? Has your prayer and devotional life been put on the back burner or abandoned all together, maybe picking that practice up once more can be your gift? Only you and God know the gift you could give and only you can give it. 

Regardless of what new habits and resolutions you might make this year, I invite you to consider what you might give God in 2024. 

Therefore, I urge you, siblings, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. -Romans 12:1

New Year Blessings to you all!

-Pastor Brian

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