There are two questions I would like to raise that I have and, I hope, you can reflect on. Both are questions that are appropriate to story of the wise men’s quest, and to the beginning of this New Year of 2008.
The first question is where did God found you, in the last year? Or another way of saying it is, at what places or times in our life in the last year was God’s presence been most evident?
Each year we live brings times of celebration and sorrow to our life, endings and beginnings. When I look back over the last year, there are specific times I can point to when my faith and trust in God’s presence has been strengthen. There have been moments when my prayers for strength and guidance have been answered. In my family, I give thanks to God for a year of good health and for the privilege of watching my children continue to grow. In our church, I rejoice in the addition of our Church School coordinator and the successful beginning of our 11:15 am Contemporary Service. There were also some rough spots and difficult losses in both my family life and our life together in the church over the last year, that perhaps only in retrospect will I be able to see how God was, indeed, at work. When I look back over 2007 and see those places where God, without a doubt, found me, I give thanks that God’s presence which has been a much need strength for me in the last year. Every person and family has it’s own collection of good and bad to look back over at year’s end, just as the journey of the wise men was tour with both highs and lows. Yet God was always there to encourage and guide them and us. And so my first question for our reflection is where did God found you, in the last year?
The second question I have for us Christians who stand at the beginning of this new year and who also tell the story of the three wise men is where are you looking for God? Each of us wants to become a more spiritual person, to be in a better relationship with God, but for all our good intentions, have we been looking in the wrong places? Where have we been looking? Where did you find God this past year?
This year will have it’s own joys and sorrows, in our family’s lives and in our faith life. Each of us will encounter things that will challenge us. Sometime those things that challenge us give us a chance, if we are open to it, to improve and strengthen our relationship with Christ. Our own parish will continue to face the challenge of doing God’s work in Georgetown. Looking for God often carries a risk and so each of us must answer make decisions when we are faced by the risk of faith, the risk of looking for or being found by God. Will I follow a star that leads me into the unknown? Will I follow a guide that leads us from the luxury of a palace to look into a lowly stable? Will we trust God to take us there?
In 2008, that bright shining star in the heavens will continue to call us to paths that lead us through the unexpected, through highs and lows. The journey of faith has never been, nor will it be without bumps, bruises, or scrapes. Yet, as true as the star that lead the wise men, the Christian promise, that God will be with us, will lead us and will encourage us in the journey of the year ahead. Thanks be to God. AMEN.