Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The expectation of the New Year is that somehow circumstances will be adapted in a new and happier way, and that with them we too shall be brought along. In the bleak mid winter, though, how can this be? The circumstances are all against us. It is harder in January than it is in April to go back from the altar to our work feeling that something has happened to us and that we, not circumstances, are redeemed and born anew, yet that is precisely what we are called upon to do.
So here we are, called to begin where we left off and yet to make a new beginning. It is an old choice and a new chance for us and for the world. Christmas and creation are part of the same process of God; they have everything to do with one another, they each speak of loving purpose and renewed hopes… The routine beckons, the familiar haunts require our attention and our presence, and before too long the memory of this holy time will disappear and be packed away with the paraphernalia of the season; and yet by God’s grace we will be open to his most remarkable grace and surprise in the world.
The world will not change until and unless we change; the spirit of Christmas cannot be borne out into the cold January air unless we are borne out by it and indeed born again by it. We may, we must, return from whence we came, but we need not return as the same tired creatures, care-worn and spirit-lost, for we have seen wonderful things that have come to pass, strange and might sights that will never let us look at the skies in quite the same manner as before.
Christ’s presence has hallowed all that we are and every place that we are, and by his grace the world and we can never be quite the same again. Therefore, we begin again, that in leaving the manger we may embrace the world for his sake and for ours.
Sermons: Biblical Wisdom For Daily Living by Rev. Peter J. Gomes, pgs.26-29.