I think we are all used to viewing a year in a variety of ways. There is the calendar year or solar year, which runs January to December. There is the financial year, which runs April to March. There is the academic year, which runs September to July. Then we have the church year, which runs from the first Sunday of Advent to the Sunday before Advent. The last Sunday in the Church’s year is called Christ the King. This month of November marks the end of the church’s year on Sunday 24th November.
The beginning of the next church year starts on Sunday 1st December, the First Sunday of Advent. Advent means coming to, we remember Christ’s first coming and his promise to come again. Advent marks the preparation time for Christmas and Christ’s return, it represents a time for watching and waiting. It is important to remember that Advent is not just a count down to Christmas, it also looks beyond Christmas. The promise of the return of Christ heralds a new and exciting relationship with God and all his people. So, let’s leave next year for the time being and focus on the end of this year.
The climax of the Church’s year is started by the celebration of All Saints Day on the 1st November. At this point we move into a season called ‘The Kingdom Season’ and our attention is drawn to God’s Kingdom which is often referred to as Heaven. We remember people who influenced our journey in life who have died and now are in heaven. We focus on Jesus Christ who by his death and resurrection gave us hope in life after death. It is through God’s grace and forgiveness that we are able to stand with the Saints in Heaven. However undeserving we may feel that we are, God is always willing to give us another chance to make amends and put our life back on track. It is for this reason that we proclaim that Jesus is victorious and is Christ the King. So before we all get absorbed in preparations for Advent and Christmas let us round off the Christian year with a celebration of Christ’s Kingship on Sunday 24th November and the gift of life that he brings to the whole world.
As we look around us we see so many conflicts and divisions which appear almost impossible to solve. The Christian message is all about hope in the most improbable situations. An all-conquering powerful hero that overcomes all by might does not mark Christ’s Kingship. Rather Christ’s example of serving the needs of the lost and the lonely mark God’s rule. This rule requires reconciliation and forgiveness. How much more could the world benefit from this gift that Jesus Christ brings into being?
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) email@example.com