Reflections on the Readings for Sunday 1 January 2012
Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
A blessed year in 2012, what would that look like? Blessing is clearly a ‘good thing’, but the term is so vague. Are we being lazy when we wish God’s blessing on someone without enumerating what that might entail? I don’t think so. What do we know of a person’s depths or their journey or the terrain of the future that would allow us to name God’s blessing for them? The Aaronic blessing is both non-specific and meaningful: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.” Experiencing oneself as seen and smiled upon by God – what a beautiful way to live.
Paul takes it further. We are not just favoured subjects of a powerful king but children of God. The Holy Spirit within us invites us to play and work and rest within the watchful and loving gaze of a good Father.
The shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem were seen by God. They heard God’s message through angelic voices which directed them to the place where they could catch a glimpse of God-with-us in the Child who changes everything. Our own experience may be less dramatic; nevertheless, we are invited by the Spirit within to hear, to glimpse, and to worship. Perhaps we could take time, like Mary, for silent reflection, so that we don’t walk right past the mystery without even knowing it is there.
May you know that God’s face shines upon you and catch a glimpse of Emmanuel, God-with-us, in 2012.