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January 3 | James 1:16-21


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

HE IS STILL EMMANUEL

by Katie Borden


Merry Christmas!


…I know, I know–we’ve zipped right past Christmas and run headlong into the new year, with all the promise and peril it holds. Perhaps, like me, you are feeling equal amounts of excitement and trepidation at the beginning of a new year: 

What joy awaits me that I cannot yet know? 

What sorrow lurks ahead that may knock the wind right out of me?


While these questions may be worth some reflection, we can tend to get unhelpfully stuck in our uncertainties. When I get too far into this headspace, I am grateful to be reminded that actually, this is still the Christmas season, when we celebrate Emmanuel–God with us. 

God is not only “with us” on December 25; God is always with us. In the transition to the new year, I am so thankful that the Church calendar’s celebration of Christmastide continues. We still celebrate the birth of Jesus, in whom “the hopes and fears of all the years are met” (I’ll always be grateful to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” lyricist Phillips Brooks for those beautiful, ever-relevant words). As we wonder about (...and hope in… and fear…) the new year, we remember that Christ is still present with us in it and through it.


Our text from James reminds us of this constancy of God. Even though we may be tossed about, whether by circumstances or by doubt (see verse 6), God is not so easily thrown off. God “does not change like shifting shadows” but is constant in character, in power, and in love. 


And. He is constant in his presence. He is always God with us.


Just as we continue to celebrate Christ’s birth straight through the new year, may we celebrate that he is continuing to birth new life in us. He is constantly shaping us more in his likeness–more into a people who reflect the vision cast in James 1:19-21–and he is constantly making us new.


Whatever 2024 has brought and will bring, God’s goodness and presence is constant. For surely his goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell with him forever (Psalm 23).

Now that’s some good news.


PRAYER


Emmanuel, whatever the next season brings my way, I thank you that you are always with me. Continue to shape me in the way of your life and love, and help me know your presence–always. Amen.






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1 Comment


Judy Webb
Judy Webb
Jan 03

It is a comfort to realize "He is always making us new". That our old self is gone now that Christ is in us. Thank you Katie for these words of encouragement as we enter a new year. --Judy

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