JANUARY 1, 2022
The WORD of God is Our Manger
We begin our New Year 2022 New Testament overview with a devotional journey to the manger. God’s Word is our manger where we find Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths, walking on water, healing the sick, stilling the storm, forgiving sins, feeding thousands, nailed to a cross, and resurrected from the dead with glorious nail-scarred hands embracing us with His love and forgiveness daily during 2022 (and every year).
Let us pray this Collect (appointed liturgical prayer) for the New Year:
Lord God, heavenly Father, because you sent us your only-begotten Son for our salvation and gave him the name of Jesus, grant that we may begin the New year trusting in his saving name and live all our days in his service and praise to the glory of his holy name; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Lutheran Worship p. 102)
Even as we begin this New Year, we are still in the 12 days of Christmas which last until Epiphany on January 6th. God’s Word says in Luke 2: 10 And the angel said to [the shepherds], “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” …16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky--looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
(Lutheran Service Book #364 or 365)
It is in the manger of Bethlehem we see God’s love for us. Baby Jesus born of Mary is Divine love wrapped in human flesh and blood. John 1:14 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
During January we will journey with Jesus through the entire New Testament and again find Jesus in the manger--the “manger” of God’s Word. The first few days will provide introductory and background material. Then the remaining 27 days of January we will explore a big picture summary of each of the 27 Books of the New Testament (NT). The summary of each NT Book will provide brief highlights and insights, points to ponder, background information, and/or personal application.
As we step into New Year 2022 we cherish God’s promise in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Here is a powerful prayer extolling this passage as we journey into 2022:
Lord Jesus, You will remain when everything else passes away. You also rule over time. You created it. You are not bound by it. You stretch out Your hands and reach from the world’s beginning to its end. You have the same power over what has been as You have over what will come. They’re both that close to You. In Your kingdom no one counts the days. No one needs to hold on to happiness. I can’t fathom it, and yet You want even me to experience it. You Yourself have stepped into time in order that I would be able to step into eternity. It’s more than anything I could thank You for, and yet it’s only a small part of everything You have done for me. Praise be to Your name in everlasting eternity. Amen.
(Prayer by Rev. Bo Giertz; To Live with Christ; CPH St. Louis, 2008; page 79; Giertz was a faithful Lutheran bishop who served in secular Sweden)
May God bless you with health and Christ’s peace and joy during 2022!
Pastor Scott Schmieding