When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” 6They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.”
With a new year right here, is your anxiety rising? Are the tasks and concerns you were able to set aside for Christmas beginning to demand attention? Is that red alert of your email starting to nag? In encountering the people of God in the wilderness, we raise up during this season of Christmastide, their joy in experiencing God but also their apprehensions. Yes, they’ve experienced God through their freedom from slavery in Egypt and covenanted with the Ten Commandments, to worship only the Lord God but…
This cautionary tale of the dangers of worshiping false idols also reminds us of how we too can focus our fear, anxiety. and stress on the wrong things and try to control what should be handed to God. So where in this Christmastide and new year can you name your pain and give it to the Lord? Where, as people of a God, indeed, made flesh and dwelling among us, do you need place your trust instead?
Emmanuel, the twinkling lights and glorias are beginning to fade from the sky and our memories, yet we still desire that warmth. We still seek that promise, dwell with us, ease our fears and pain, so that we can enter this new year with grace. May we experience you with us and worship you alone, Amen.