January 19, 2022

Growing in God’s Word and Wisdom 26-12-2021

26th December 2021 (First Sunday after Christmas)

Title: Growing in God’s Word and Wisdom

(Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:12–17 & Luke 2:41-52)

                                                                                    By Heeyoung Lim

Yesterday was Christmas day, but now is the first day of Season after Christmas among 12 days until Epiphany. When we look back a year or COVID related two years, what did we experience? Some people refuse to look back on their journey and give themselves credit for the gains they have made. 

In today’s story, told only by Luke, we hear about Jesus around the age of 12. In Luke 2:41–52, Jesus’ family becomes disconnected from their son and overwhelmed with all the worry and fear that brings. When they eventually found Jesus in the temple, they were amazed because Jesus related to God and enjoyed the time of sharing God’s word. His mother said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!” Jesus answered, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?” Disconnection often brings anxiety and depression into our lives, but we need a time of solitude before God to truly connect with God. We all have experienced anxiety, depression, and loneliness amidst many difficulties that have continued throughout the year, but even these disconnection times will be a way to deepen our relationship with God and enrich our relationships with people.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ parents did not look back on the way home. They were busy looking ahead and walking for a long time without Jesus. 12-year-old Jesus’ earthly growth was preparing him for heavenly mission. At the temple he showed he was more than ready. While his parents absorbed in preparations for the journey, they did not notice the missing child in the crowd. When people feel that they have a shared responsibility, they sometimes fail to take care of someone or something, and they pass the responsibility on to others. What was their priority? What is our priority? 

Sometimes you and I lose Jesus just like Mary and Joseph. We get so busy in our daily routine that we never give him a thought. Then, one day we realize that he is gone out of our lives. Would you know what we need to do when that happens? We need to go back to the place we left Him. That is where we will find Jesus, right there waiting for us. Today, the last Sunday of 2021, may we look back on whether we are walking with Jesus in our hard and busy daily life.

Jesus is the promised Messiah and Saviour who brings salvation to all people, and His role as Saviour was proclaimed before his birth. Jesus’ salvation, however, does not come automatically. People retain the freedom to accept or reject him. Jesus’ salvation was accomplished because a human baby or boy faithfully accomplished the growth tasks of a child to enter a heavenly mission. Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people. (52) In what ways have you grown in God’s word and wisdom this year?

Colossians 3:12–17 speaks of God’s chosen holy and beloved those who live in harmony with God and with each other. Today’s text introduces rules for holy living such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience and leads us to be thankful in our lives. (12) Attributes of real connection with God seem to be these five virtues. How does practicing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience help you feel closer to God? How does it bring you joy? Verse 12 invites us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We are all loved by God, and God wants us to love each other and grow in faith. Verse 14 tells us, “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” May we put on love over all virtues.

May we live each day in obedience so that God can use us when His time comes. I hope we can tell others the good news that God has shared with us more in 2022. Verse15 tells us, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” We are called to be thankful.  

Each one of us is part of the body of Christ, and we were chosen to live together in peace. I believe that the peace that comes from Christ control our thoughts. Let us obey the message about Christ completely fill our lives, while we use all our wisdom given by God. With thankful hearts, may we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God and share blessings and encouragements more each other next year. 

When life seems overwhelming, or when sorrow seeks to overtake us, how are we able to find joy within that? During this Christmas season, we are invited to join in God’s word to praise God and rest in the joy of God’s presence in the birth of Emmanuel, God with us. Especially, finding Jesus and seeking God’s will would be our joy. May we walk with Jesus even when we are busy or focus on something.  

We are called to model ourselves on Jesus. Modelling ourselves on Jesus does not mean we aim for to be perfect and then despair and beat ourselves up for failing to reach that standard. Jesus started from a baby weak and helpless on the earth. We follow Jesus on the journey of growth. Our journey has its ups and downs, its obstacles and its catchups. Sometimes we pick up speed, and sometimes we slump by the side of the road, feeling unable to go on. But Jesus slumped by the side of the road three times on the way to the cross too. Our times of frustration and fear do not mean that we’ve taken the wrong turn and are lost forever, because we believe resurrection and restoration. Modelling Jesus or following Jesus represents our deep joy and growth in faith.

Jesus was grounded in God’s word and grown in the faith community when he was young. Jesus was in the Father’s house. May we grow in obedience, relationships, and faith. Paul urges us: “Keep putting on God’s compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Putting them on is part of the process of growing up. Day by day like Jesus we grow. We are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. We are to clothe ourselves with God’s love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May we all share the love of God more and more next year. May our Leighmoor Church will become a precious God’s instrument that can help our faith growth of all generation. In 2022, may we keep on modelling ourselves on Jesus and day by day grow like Him. For then we will be faithfully following Him, and the miracle of Christmas will be taking place within us!

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)