This Church Season between Christmastide and Lent is known as Epiphany. This season begins each year on January 6, which is observed as the possible day of the Wise Men’s visit to the Christ Child, although no one knows for sure when that actually occurred. Epiphany lasts until Lent (the 40-day period before Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. This is March 1 for 2017). During Epiphany, we focus on the Church’s Mission, evangelism, and baptism. I chose not to preach on Jesus’ baptism in early January, because our Aztec UMC family is expecting the addition of Jennifer Lawson’s baby any time now. She has already told me she’d like to have him baptized. Some United Methodists choose to let their children wait until they are old enough to choose to be baptized for themselves. Others decide that they want their children to always know that they belong to God, and that He has loved them and chosen them for Himself, even before they knew it. Therefore, parents may choose to baptize infants or small children or allow them to make that choice for themselves, perhaps as a part of the Confirmation and joining the church process.
One of the liturgies from the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland expresses it so beautifully:
Little one, for you Jesus Christ came into the world;
For you He lived and showed God’s love;
For you He suffered the darkness of Calvary
And cried at the last: “It is accomplished”;
For you He triumphed over death and rose in newness of life;
For you He ascended to reign at God’s right hand.
All this He did for you, little one, though you do not know it yet.
And so the word of scripture is fulfilled:
“We love because God loved us first.”
This is the Good News for all the little ones and us bigger ones, too!
Grace and Peace,