"On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matt 2:11, NRSV)
The new year is a time where many people transition from looking back to looking forward. Some people make New Year's resolutions. For some, a new year means new beginnings and new goals.
In the church year, January brings in the Epiphany season. The Epiphany itself commemorates the magi visiting the Christ child. The First Sunday after the Epiphany is the Baptism of Christ. We don't know what time of year Jesus was baptized. However, it does mark a shift for Jesus. Jesus had lived for years as a carpenter's son. With his baptism, Jesus sets in motion his ministry. It also means that Jesus will no longer live in his hometown of Nazareth. Jesus' personal goal becomes the goal for all of God's people.
During the season of Epiphany, we hear the stories of the epiphanies about the nature of Christ. The magi pay homage to the new-born king. The three gifts are thought to be symbolic. Gold is gift for a king. Frankincense is a gift for a priest, offering a fragrance pleasing to God. Myrrh can be made into an ointment that is used on a body for burial, foretelling Jesus' death.
Jesus' receiving of the Holy Spirit at his baptism is an epiphany. The epiphany is the voice that declares Jesus as God's son and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus. A traditional epiphany story is at the Wedding Feast of Cana. It was there that Jesus' power over nature was an epiphany for the disciples. Mary seemed to know what Jesus was going to do with the water, which makes me wonder how often Jesus made wine at home.
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany is the story of the Transfiguration. It was on that holy mount that Peter, James, and John saw Jesus' true self, a very big epiphany.
In this new year, how will you see Jesus in your life? Probably not something as big as the Transfiguration, but something significant, I hope. It is in the subtle ways that God works in our lives that are sometimes is overlooked. It is also good to remember that God works through other people. In this new year, let us look forward to God's presence anew.
Fr. Craig Kuehn+
Did You Know?
-The annual meeting will be held on January 28 following a single, combined service beginning at 9:30am at Trinity Church.
Senior Warden's Report
By Margaret Lewis
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given..."
As we find ourselves in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas, I pray you find time to stay with the season and with the remembering that God became incarnate in human flesh in order to walk with us and to bring us closer to God's kingdom. Just as we are often tempted to rush through Advent and skip the anticipation of Christmas, so too are we ready to hurriedly push through the Christmas season once it has arrived. The good news is that as Christians we recognize 12 full days of Christmas; time to reflect on what it means that Jesus was born into our world and how we might choose to walk more intentionally with Christ in the year ahead; always pulled to the experience of God's kingdom.
As we look back over the past year it is clear that God has been in our midst! We gathered at the women's march in January, had a peace vigil in February, and explored the Muslim culture and faith throughout Lent. We grieved when Pastor Karen and Steph left us and celebrated the quick and gracious willingness of Fr. Craig to step in and serve as our interim Priest. We grieved again at the loss of our Music Director, Carol Harper and again quickly celebrated the finding of her successor in Deena Holland. We lost two beloved parishioners in Steve Martin and Joan Von der Heiden and celebrated both of their lives and times with us, as well as the knowledge that they are no longer in any pain or suffering.
Through all of the changes Trinity faced in 2017 we continued to "Pray our Goodbyes" and watched where God was moving through it all. Worship, outreach, book groups, Bible Study, planning, picnicking and play continued to be the focus and affirmed confidence that moving forward in peace is possible when we remain open to listening together for and with God.
As we move into a year that promises ongoing changes and challenges I have full faith and confidence that Trinity will continue to move gracefully through whatever arrives. God came to us as a newborn child and promises a continued rebirth in our hearts if we choose to remain open, listening, and responding.
Prayers for peace and grace in the New Year!
New Bible Study Begins
Effective Jan 1, 2018, we will begin a new Bible Study using the book, "The Bible Challenge". The book is organized to encourage the reader to move through the Bible over the course of a year with short daily readings.
While we encourage you to begin your readings Jan 1, the group will not meet for discussion until the 1st Sunday in February (Feb. 4) allowing us a month of reading before we meet to discuss. We will meet at the usual time, between services, each month on the first Sunday.
This group is a traditional Bible study, wherein each person is encouraged to bring their perspectives, understandings, and knowledge. Some of you may remember doing this a few years ago, but apparently not all groups knew there was a book to guide the readings.
The book can be ordered online from Amazon. If you are in need of assistance with the purchase, please let Margaret Lewis know.
Food Bank Donations
Food gifts for December totaled 148 pounds. Total for 2017: 1868 pounds.
Thank you for your generous support of this special ministry.
Trinity Singers Rehearsals
All are invited to join the Trinity Singers/Worship Team! Rehearsals are the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7pm. Bring your voices, your instruments, and a heart for worship and praise! For more information, please contact Deena Holland at 209-296-6616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following members of our church family are celebrating birthdays in January!
3rd- Margaret Lewis
8th- Aloysha Mathany
12th- Dale Miller 13th- Linda Krauthamel-Lane
22nd- Shirley Tscharner
If you are celebrating a birthday in January, but you don't see your name listed here, please contact our Parish Administrative Asst.
Would You Like to Contribute to the Newsletter?
If you have an article of interest to the congregation that you would like included in the newsletter, please email it to the office, email@example.com by the 20th of the month. It will be included in the next month's newsletter.