This Sunday is a bonus of sorts. Because the first of the year was a Sunday, we get 53 Sundays in 2023. Tell your church council that you need a bonus of some sort. The preacher’s union may go on strike if they don’t. The congregants, however, might point to the diminished attendance this Sunday and urge a salary reduction, so you might want to go easy on the salary negotiations this week.
Seriously, though, this a great Sunday to preach. Mary and Joseph come to the temple with the infant Jesus for Mary’s purification ritual. They meet Simeon and Anna there, and these two might be the patron saints of old Lutherans who make up the bulk of our parishes these days. They are old and the world does not see much good in them, but God certainly does. Your people, including widows and widowers should find it no problem to identify with this Gospel reading. What is more, there is a good chance that this Sunday you will see those most faithful Christians coming to Church. The occasional attenders all showed up last weekend and they are not going to come two weeks in row. You can dig deep into these texts with people who already know the biblical narratives and have heard them many times before.