Pastors prepare messages for New Year’s Day

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sunday marks the first day of 2017, and pastors in the Washington area are preparing to usher congregations into the New Year.

Jim Reed, pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church, said the first Sunday of January marks Epiphany, which focuses on Jesus’ entry into the world.

“Traditionally, you know, it’s Epiphany, so it would be the coming of the wise men and the light of Christ coming into the world,” Reed said. “It’s really the gospel going forward to the whole world. … It’s a light to all the nations.”

Although Reed’s sermon has yet to be set in stone for Sunday, he said he usually likes to incorporate a theme of new beginnings or renewed hope into a New Year’s sermon.

Tony Krantz, pastor at Beaver Dam Church of Christ, shared similar plans for his Sunday message — a message focusing on the new.

“Almost every year, I try to remind people not to live in the past, you know, that God gives us new opportunities, and that’s really what Christianity is all about,” Krantz said. “It’s about hope. It’s about change. It’s about redemption. It’s about eternity, and it’s about everlasting life.”

Jay Martin, pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd, said he is planning to continue his series on the Book of Hebrews, specifically an excerpt from chapter eight — which also addresses the old versus the new.

“Hebrews 8 speaks of ‘new covenant’ taking precedent over ‘old covenant’ because its promises are better and fuller. Jesus brings this to pass, replacing the old with the new,” Martin explained.

Reed added that the New Year also relates to how the church will move forward in 2017. He said Christians often face a bad rap in the world, and he believes it is up to them to change this perception.

“It’s up to us … to really let that light shine,” Reed said of church missions and sharing the Christian faith. “Big churches like to throw money at things. I like to throw people at things.”

“That’s kind of the hope I have for every new year,” he said.