Year C Christmas 1 –1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26; Psalm 148; Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52
The first Sunday after Christmas moves the reader from Christ being born in grave clothes to children clothed for Temple ministry.
Samuel, the promised firstborn of Hannah, ministered as a boy in the Temple. He wore a linen ephod as if he was born into the priestly family. The little robe was lovingly made by Samuel’s mother and faithfully delivered each year. Between deliveries, Hannah could only hold Samuel in her thoughts and imagine his growth. She would create a new garment, calculating like no one but a mother could, the growth of her son and allow room for another year’s growth before she returns.
The Psalmist encourages all of creation to praise the Lord, including “young men and women alike, old and young together (148:12). The annual visit of Hannah to Samuel literally illustrates the song.
Christians today are told to clothes themselves; but the clothing is for the inner person, not the outer body. Illustrated by Hannah’s love-robe, Samuel put on “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience” (Col 3:12). God’s covenant people of the New Testament are given such beautiful clothing “which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (3:14). Our unity, manifested through hearts that sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God, is made possible by the word of Christ richly dwelling within our very being.
The Word was made flesh: Jesus was God manifested in human form. As a human being, the twelve year old boy Jesus entered the Temple. Clothed with divine wisdom and supernatural knowledge, the child taught the teachers.
Jesus robed himself with human flesh to serve in God’s temple. That temple today is found in you! Is your heart a place of worship for Jesus to teach? Is your inner person clothed appropriately? Does your heart sing forth praise to its Creator? This Christmas Sunday, ponder the contrast between Christ’s grave cloths worn so that you may be robed as priests in God’s Kingdom.