THE SEVENTH DAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS
1 John 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth.
Psalm 96: 1-2, 11-13
O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
Today we read the scriptures and look toward the new year. People make resolutions and plans. The scriptures begin with the words “Children, it is the last hour!” and finish with focusing us on the beginning with God and how all things came into being through him and without him nothing exists. The law came through Moses and grace and truth through Jesus Christ. From his fullness we have all received grace.
As we come to the close of the year and reflect on it and make our decisions and form our hopes about the coming year, the scriptures focus us on Jesus. Without Him, nothing would exist. He is the source of life for all and the light in our darkness.
No matter what the last year looked like to us, or how our hopes, fears, concerns, and dreams lead us into the next one, our resolutions should always draw us closer to Jesus. With Jesus as our focus, we know the heart of God. Resolve to devote more time to Jesus and we, like John the Baptist, will bring the light into a dark world.