by Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults
On New Year’s Day I preached a sermon entitled, “A New Year, A New Normal” on Matthew 2:1-20. In the sermon, I suggested that all of the characters in this Bible story experienced a “new normal” because of the wise men’s visit, first to Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem. The magi were overjoyed at seeing the Christ Child, and they knelt down to worship him. Not only did they go home via another route, they went home another way, somehow changed by what they had experienced in the presence of the Divine. Their “new normal” occurred after witnessing his glory; their lives would never be the same. King Herod experienced a “new normal” because of a threatening rival. As a result of his outrage, innocent children in Bethlehem were slain and their parents experienced a “new normal” in grief. Their lives would never be the same after losing a child. The Holy Family fled to safety in Egypt, experiencing a “new normal” as refugees in a distant land, forced to become acquainted with strange customs and a different language.
For most of us, change does not come easily. Adjusting to new circumstances causes us discomfort; however not all changes are for the worse. Some changes make our lives easier and more comfortable. After all, who would want to go back to ice boxes instead of refrigerators, or to oscillating fans instead of central heat and air? However, some innovations in technology intimidate us. I recall the days when I was unsettled about going through the self-check lines at the grocery story. Even though that “new normal” has become old hat, I am not certain that I am ready to be a passenger in a driverless car just yet!
What new or different circumstances are you facing this New Year? For one, we will have a new president in a matter of days; President-elect Trump has promised that many changes will occur under his administration. However they present themselves, how will you respond to the “new normals” in your life? With fear and trembling as the parents of Bethlehem? With outrage like King Herod? With quiet and obedient trust like the Holy Family? Or, with joy like the wise men? The choice is up to you.