And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
This text from Revelation is part of the lectionary for New Year’s Day, but not the text for the Sunday after Christmas.
So on the rare occasion (like this year), that New Year’s Day falls on the Sunday after Christmas, there is a whole other set of Scripture texts to be preached upon. So unless the pastor/church really wants to preach on Revelation, or the congregation has a special Worship service just to celebrate the new year, this text often gets skipped over.
And it’s too bad.
It’s too bad, because this passage from Revelation is a really incredible way to start the new year – with God’s promises, with hope, and with the reminder that this child whose birth we just celebrated begins God’s relationship with us – and I mean really with us.
Jesus, the baby in the manger, the Son of God, the one we call “Emmanuel”, God with us, has begun something epic in our world – and this epic story begins with God breaking in to the world – to dwell in our world, and that dwelling that began on the very first Christmas, is the dwelling that ends with every tear being wiped away, with death and sorrow being no more…
And that is a really beautiful picture painted by a book in the bible we often prefer to ignore. This message of God dwelling with us – of peace and comfort in the promises we receive in Jesus, Emmanuel, are just how I want to bring in 2017.
Happy New Year!