On Sunday, November 25, we will celebrate Christ the King Sunday, which is the last and final Sunday of the Church Year. The culmination of the year recognizes the glory of God in Christ as King. This means that Sunday, December 2 begins the next Church Year, so it is the First Sunday of Advent. On this Sunday, we begin to anticipate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Our theme for Advent this year will be Draw Near. We will ponder drawing near to God as we await God drawing near to us. The days of Advent focus on preparation. We prepare our lives to receive Emmanuel, or “God with us”.
The conspiracy of Advent is that God is up to something. God secretly plans to bring hope to every place of despair. God intends to bring peace to a broken world. God is going to smuggle joy into all of creation. God will light up the world with a love so bright that darkness could never overcome it.
We await the arrival of God’s hope, peace, joy, and love at Christmas, and as we wait, we are shaped by our anticipation. Since we wait for these gifts of God’s grace to arrive, they begin to take shape in the world now. It is the impact of our expectations.
Our preparation and waiting also creates space for the arrival of Jesus, like John the Baptist preparing a way for the Lord. We create space within the community of faith, where God’s hope, peace, joy, and love are born. In each of our lives, we create space by becoming more aware of the needs for such gifts in this world, inviting ourselves to share them with others.
We rejoice at Christmas because of our preparation at Advent! We recognize yet again that God is at work, drawing near to this world, so in preparation for God’s arrival, we draw near to God.