A new year is upon us, and like every new year, we make plans, we have expectations, we
celebrate having gotten through the previous one, and we often hope that this new beginning will not
bring too many unexpected changes. So, how’s that working for you?
We’ve just celebrated the Nativity of Jesus. During Advent, which was the beginning of our new
church year, we heard from prophets, including John the Baptist, of God’s coming to be among us. What
we usually don’t hear during this time is the warning that God’s coming is going to be far different from
what we’re used to. God’s coming usually comes after a time of distress, or after we’ve neglected our
relationship with God.
In ancient Israel and Judah, that neglect became known in the worshiping of idols and the failure
to observe the commandments and traditions handed down by Moses. In a nutshell, the people and their
leaders failed to be to each other who God had promised to be for them—one who shows compassion
and mercy, who provides what is needed, and who defends in time of trouble.
We’re pretty much okay with God doing all that for us. But we fall short on sharing compassion
and mercy and hospitality to others, especially to the strangers among us. And that makes us strangers to
click here to continue reading at our January Epistle