I have brought my United Church calendar with me today.  Can you help me to find today’s date?  Of course not – this is last year’s calendar.  Here is my new one for 2013 and here is today’s date.  It looks like a busy day with the box all full, but this is the one that we want to talk about this morning.

Today we celebrate the baptism of Jesus!

In the same way that this calendar marks the beginning of a new year, baptism represents a new beginning too.  On the surface it doesn’t seem like anything special:

-taking a bath without soap
-walking in the rain without an umbrella
-watering plants with a hose
-drinking a glass of ice water on a hot day.

Water in itself is not very special, but the act of baptism really is.  It is marking a new beginning of a life guided by God.  Our baptisms are an introduction to the church and an acknowledgement that we want to live a life like Jesus.

Jesus’ baptism was the marker of the beginning of his ministry.  It may have seemed like a normal enough day taking a bath in the river with his cousin, but God sent a dove down from heaven and a voice was heard saying, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased!”  That ceremony was his new beginning and the start of this calendar (sometimes paired with new year’s resolutions) can be a new beginning for each of us.

Let us use this new calendar year to work towards living our lives as Christ did.