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So now children, remain

by davesandel on January 2nd, 2021

Saturday, January 2, 2021                  (today’s lectionary)

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

So now children, remain

Underneath our computer desk I have been kicking the bucket that we use for trash, and I’m reminded of my mortality on this second day of the newest year. What did we do yesterday to ring in what many religions call God’s Day? Well, we straightened up our new apartment, and I assembled the Ikea bedframe Andi’s neighbors gave us. I put the mattress down on the completed frame and fell right down to the floor. “This isn’t going to work,” I said.

Margaret, who has her grandpa’s genes, said, “Dave, usually there are slats on a bed like this.” Ah … yes. Thank you, my coal miner’s granddaughter. What would I do without you? The slats were waiting in the corner of the closet.

Margaret’s grandpa left school in Kentucky after sixth grade and then returned after a stint as WWI medic to learn the coal mining business. He invented, entrepreneured, and built, built, built. After two coal “temples” he turned to houses. He could see what needed to be done in these often complicated constructions with the sixth sense that Margaret also has.

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 

I know John speaks about our relationship with God, but God has skin on, too. And the blood relatives we can trace so easily these days back for generations make us so much of who we are. There are times when I think of my grandpa, or my Aunt Mary, and I pray for them in heaven. I ask them to pray for me. Guardian angels often seem to hover over me. I don’t see them but I feel safe.

How often have I NOT had a catastrophic accident, or made a disastrous choice? I have always credited these graces to the permissions God gives my “angels,” whoever and whatever they may be. You know about George Bailey’s despair, right? His did not always seem like a wonderful life, so Frank Capra and God sent Clarence to rescue him from his plan to jump off an icy bridge. Thanks to God’s lucky stars, thanks to Clarence, thanks we give our angels every single day.

As black night falls on the second day of this newest year, I want to curl up in a blanket in front of our fireplace (which we haven’t tried out yet, actually), settle into silence and slide into sleep. The moon is waning. We have sought and followed the Christmas Star, but now it mostly feels forgotten. Seems like darkness could win its battle with the light. And in this present darkness, I feel afraid. Come, Lord Jesus.

John said to his questioners, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

In these opening days of the year after 2020, as our own worldwide plague continues to frighten and kill us and I along with so many others am tempted to pretend that everything is fine, Jesus comes. He comes to be recognized and he comes to heal. He comes to open the doors to the Kingdom of God.

Our Lord Jesus has made his salvation known, and so now children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.

(1 John 2, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1, John 1)

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