Happy New Year’s Eve!
No, I haven’t lost my marbles – at least, not yet.
In the church calendar, the last Sunday of the year is Christ the King Sunday (which is always the Sunday right before Advent I). This year we will celebrate this festive time of preparation this coming Sunday, November 24th, in both worship services.
Though it is not time for “New Year’s Resolutions” quite yet, there is something we can do to prepare for the coming season.
It is time to consider how we will live into the season of Advent, which begins in just over a week and a half. We know that the world desires us to focus on presents and parties and the pretense of perfection, but the church is meant to do something different.
If you have ever had a child, you will remember that though there were moments of joy, like baby showers, the vast majority of preparing for your child’s arrival was extremely hard work. It is far from fun and games – especially if you were a woman who suffered from morning sickness (or as I came to call it, all-day sickness). It was a sort of “calm before the storm,” but that does not mean it was full of rest.
Similarly, Advent is a time for us to rethink how we honor Christ in our lives. The King of kings, who we will celebrate this Sunday, is also that little tiny baby who will arrive in four weeks. It brings to mind the ancient song from the book of Philippians:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus: who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a salve, being born in human likeness…Philippians 2:5-7
Christ’s Reign is about so much more than mere words and thoughts. It is about truth and action. It is about following Christ with our whole lives – walking the path Jesus trod.
What this means is that to truly prepare for the little tiny baby, we should seek to serve him every way we can.
And how do we do this?
… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me… just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.Matthew 25
That is how we keep Christ at the fore this Christmas. We love Christ in the face of everyone we meet. Because that is what our Lord has commanded us to do.
There are a myriad of ways you can fulfill your calling in the coming weeks. And it may seem overwhelming to consider, especially with everything else that will be going on.
My encouragement for all of us is to pick one place to start. One act of kindness. One moment of compassion. One offering of mercy. Then pick another. And another.
It will not be easy, but in the end, if we live into our calling, even more people will share our joy in the arrival of the Child into the Kingdom God is already creating.
Blessings, Pastor Janie