Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise God in the heights.
The office will be closed Monday January 1, 2024
No Wednesday evening service December 27
Sunday, December 31, one service only at 9:30 a.m.
The Readings for Sunday December 31, 2023
Jan 1 Karol Grisard
Jan 1 Kris Gedeon
Jan 5 Turner Sattler
Jan 8 Milena Slaybaugh
Jan 9 Laurie Drerup
Jan 9 Scott McClintic
Jan 10 Brenda Holderman
Jan 11 Fred Eble
Jan 15 Cindy Redrup
Jan 17 Abby Reeb
Jan 17 Thomas Keister
Jan 20 Gretchen Hiatt
Jan 24 Jan Pfund
Jan 26 Amy Reeb
Jan 28 Bob Haaf
Jan 30 Sue Melchert
Jan 31 Emma Rinto
Meditation on Luke 2:22-40
By Vicar Dave
As a parent, it’s always nice when I hear people say good things about my children. Parents tend to blush with pride when they hear about how good little Johnny is doing in school, or how Janice did such a great job in the school play. This type of praise is looking back at their accomplishments. At events like graduation, we hear praise, not just for the things our children have done, but also for the things they will be doing. Going on to college or working in a trade. In the church, people go on various missions, some to places here in the States, and some to places on the other side of the world. Congregations sometimes celebrate these missions before the missionaries leave, talking about the great things they intend to accomplish.
I read a story recently about a young man who was born with downs syndrome. When he was in his teens, he went to a camp which had as its focus, therapeutic horse riding. At first, he was afraid but once he got on the horse and rode for a bit he was very happy about it. He exclaimed how proud his parents are going to be when they hear about it!
Today’s Gospel tells the story of what happened when Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the temple for his ritual purification.
Luke tells us that Simeon had been guided by the Holy Spirit to the temple that day. He knew to follow and trust the Spirit’s leading because it had been revealed to him earlier in his life that he would meet the Lord’s Messiah before he died. He had been waiting a long time, years perhaps, for this moment. Maybe he knew this was his chance; that this promise would finally be fulfilled. And so, of course, when he experienced that spiritual leading, he followed it without hesitation.
And what a joyful and beautiful moment it is when Simeon takes the baby Jesus, the Christ Child, into his arms, perhaps with tears gleaming on his cheeks, and he praises God and proclaims that God’s redemptive and saving work is unfolding before their very eyes.
Then they meet Anna, a prophet. It’s no surprise that Anna was there at the temple that day because she was there every day. She never left the temple, according to Luke. Night and day, she fasted and prayed. Worship at the temple was her life. And when she sees Jesus, just like Simeon, Anna recognizes who he is, who he will become, and she too praises God and proclaims that salvation is at hand. Hers too was a moment of pure and joyful praise.
Imagine your reaction if praise of the type that Simeon and Anna were heaping on the small child, Jesus, were directed towards your child. Of course, Jesus was no ordinary child, and Mary and Joseph knew this. Afterall, how many children have their birth foretold by an angel? I thought it was interesting that, when it came to Jesus, they were still complying with the laws of Moses.
How do we give God thanks and praise in everything we do? How do we treat every moment as prayer? We sometimes tend to separate our spiritual lives from our daily lives. And certainly, it is good to set aside special times for prayer and spiritual practice. But I also think it is worth considering how every moment of our lives can be an act of prayer and praise. Whatever you do, do something that brings you joy and give thanks to God.
Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time
In Fellowship Hall
December 31st – Wendy McCall and Deb Fallon
Wishing everyone a Blessed New Year!
The deadline for turning in articles for the newsletter is 10:00 a.m. Monday morning OR when the newsletter is full. 8 pages is the maximum we can send in the mail. Thank you!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!