The month of January is full of reminders of the precious gift of life. Simply beginning with the New Year’s festivities, we celebrate the fact that God has blessed us with another year of life on this earth. He continues to sustain us, providing food, clothing & shelter, as well as health and well-being.
The Church Year also provides reminders of this gift of life. We begin with the Epiphany of Our Lord. On this festival that commemorates the Wise Men visiting our Infant Lord, and bringing Him gifts, we see Jesus revealed as God for all people – Jew and Gentile alike. The Lord and Creator of Life stooped down to become a divine Creature for you and me. He who is the Way and the Truth and the Life, took on human life for our sake – only to lay it down and then take it back up! So at Epiphany and always, we celebrate our new life through Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
There is another date on the Church calendar this month: the 18th of January is celebrated as the Confession of Saint Peter. We praise God for Simon Peter’s famous confession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 ESV) The prince of the apostles recognizes (through faith) that Jesus is the Christ – anointed to be the promised Savior – and that He is in fact, the living God. He is the God of Life. He Himself lives, and He gives life. This profound, yet childlike faith nurtures our life through Jesus Christ.
Life through Jesus Christ continues to be celebrated a week later, as on the 25th we recall the Conversion of Saint Paul. Saul, as he rode to Damascus, was full of threats of death. He viewed Christians as enemies of God. Yet the Lord Jesus appeared to him, and brought him to repentance. Saul was convicted in his heart for siding with death and fighting life. Now the Lord called and ordained him to become Saint Paul, one of the greatest mouth pieces for the Lord of Life.
During the week between these two festivals, we recall this gift of Life through Jesus Christ on the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. While this is not a “Church calendar” date per se, it is an opportunity for the Church to rise up and confess clearly the gift of life from the Lord. This is a precious gift that no single human being has the right to take.
Life through Jesus Christ, given from conception, is precious and sacred to the Lord. Life is a joy and privilege given by God; a joy and privilege for which He revealed Himself at His Epiphany; for which He fasted, suffered, and died, as we recall at Lent; and for which He rose and ascended as we celebrate at Easter.
Dear friends in Christ, celebrate this wonderful, precious gift of life – this month, and always. Be ever mindful of the sacred treasure the Lord bestows through human life, and the eternal joys He desperately wants to give with it, all through the holy life, death, and resurrection of the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ!