In the beginning....
St. John’s Gospel brings us back, all the way back, to the book of Genesis.
John’s Gospel starts by reminding us that God made all things.
In the beginning God spoke and the world came into being.
I thought this was a very appropriate theme for today, because it is a beginning of a new year.
We all like a new year because it means for us possibility, fresh starts, and the ability to right the wrongs of last year.
If we ate too much we leave that behind and we start our diet again.
If we drank too much we give ourselves the opportunity to finally practice moderation.
If we picked up some bad habits this is the year to stop and live healthier or better.
Perhaps this year we will be kinder, more forgiving.
Even more a new year is the opportunity to turn the page on bad luck.
This might be the year we meet Mr. Right, we recover from a health issue, we get a better job.
This is the beginning of something and every year at this time we feel it, or at least we say it.
This is why every year we make resolutions.
We say that we are going to do better.
I know that I made the resolution to go and exercise more at the YMCA.
Just out of curiosity how many of you made some type of New Year resolution?
This is the time to get out and do the things we wished we had done last year, or to stop the things we shouldn’t be doing.
In this time of beginnings we should remember that indeed it is God who creates all things.
At our New Year ’s Eve party some of our friends have babies just born in 2010.
My wife was saying that they had a lot to look forward to in 2011.
Like sitting up, crawling, walking, and beginning to talk.
In these little ones we see God working creating them into who they will be.
And the same should be said for our lives.
We should be on the lookout for what God is going to create in us this year.
One of the ways we describe God is that God creates things.
We should never forget that God is always creating.
God is always creating new things in our world and in all of us.
It is not that God once upon a time created the world and then stopped.
No this very year God will create a whole new things in our lives.
This is a year of new beginnings.
What I would like us to think about is what does God have in store for 2011?
What new things will God create in your life in 2011?
The prologue to John’s Gospel that we read this morning can be very helpful in seeing what God has in store for us.
God brings light from darkness, life from death, grace from ugliness, and truth from falsehood.
These are things that we can look forward to God creating in our lives in 2011.
The God who created all things in the beginning is not done creating.
That same God who spoke and made the world still speaks to us today.
In that way, all days are really about the beginning.
Today is a beginning another day and another chance to see light, life, grace, and truth in my life.
What I believe is that those things are around us all the time, and we usually miss them.
Just like the people of Jesus day missed his presence among them.
“He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.”
In the moment when Jesus was born God was beginning something and lots of people missed out.
Jesus was not good enough, not powerful enough, not splashy enough, and not at all what they wanted or expected.
We can fall into that same trap we can miss the beginning that God creates for us all the time.
We can miss the ways that God comes to us and brings light into the world.
Maybe this will be especially true in the months and weeks to come.
The celebrations are over.
The carols are done, the trees are thrown out, the sparkle and magic of Christmas is over.
I suspect that we will have a little coming down from all the good times.
We have to go back to life.
We have to deal with snow and cold weather.
We have to go back to work and business as usual.
And another year begins.
There is a beginning.
It is the beginning of the everyday, of being human, of living, of loving, of dying, of sweating, of feeling let down, and dragged out.
Into the middle of all this God comes.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
Jesus Christ has and is living among us, with us.
And in this we see God’s glory.
In this New Year we will see God’s glory amongst the everyday things of life.
Louisa Fletcher Tarkington once wrote, “So I wish there were some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again, where all our mistakes and all our heartaches and all our poor selfish grief could be dropped, like a shabby old coat at the door, and never put on again."
I think that God through Jesus Christ has given us that land of “Beginning Again”, because this year God is beginning something new and exciting in our lives.
God this year is going to show us God’s glory.
I might keep that New Year’s resolution and get more exercise this year.
I might lose the 20 pounds I gained this year.
I might be kinder, more merciful, and more compassionate.
But really none of that matters, because I have seen the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
And this year you will too.
This year believe in the possibility of God being a part of your life.
This year believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to show you God.
This year believe that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it then you will see the Glory of God.
This past year I have been to too many funerals of people that I love and care about.
I was thinking about how I once would go to weddings and baptisms.
And these days I go to more funerals.
2011 will not be much different I suppose in that regard.
In fact, this week my mom’s uncle Al died.
I will start 2011 with a funeral.
But in each case I do not see death, but life.
I see in each case the life given to us through Jesus Christ.
This does not mean I am not sad, it means that I can see in this life God’s glory, because Jesus made God known to me.
I see through death to God’s eternal life.
Where will you see God in 2011?
What does God have in store for you?
We only know this we will see light, life, truth and grace.
We will see the glory of God this year in our lives.
May all of you have a new beginning this year.
May all of you have a very Happy New year.