On behalf of the Officers and Staff of the World Methodist Council, I wish to thank you for the beautiful Christmas cards and messages of goodwill during the festive season.
As we flick the calendar to a new year and move to the first Sunday of Epiphany, I am sure that the Christmas decorations are already packed away and the cards recycled. After Christmas, it cannot be “business as usual.” We need to enter the New Year with hope, confidence, and expectation. We dare not move back to the mundane because through the “Babe at Bethlem,” we were once again reminded that God took human form to redeem all creation. God, Emmanuel – dwelt among us.
Our lectionary reading on the first Sunday after the Epiphany shares the story of John the Baptist who claims to “prepare the way for the Lord.” (Mt 3:13-17, Luke 3:1-22) The fiery preacher who calls the nation to repentance was more than surprised when he saw Jesus joining the masses for baptism. If Jesus, the Messiah, the sinless one, the Lamb of God, the Anointed one, through this profound act identified himself with sinful humanity, how much more should we not repent from the sins of prejudice and pride and embrace the grace of God.
No matter your mistakes, mishaps, and failures of the past year, God loves and cares for you. Allow me to cite the famous passage in Minnie Louise Haskins’ work God Knows:
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown’. And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.
It is my hope and prayer that 2017 will yield rich blessings for you and your family and that you will walk in the assurance that you are loved and valued by God.