November 24, 2011

The celebration of ‘Xmas’is well underway: the shops are urging us to spend our reduced real incomes, celebrities pontificate about their ‘perfect day’, and the office party season is about to kick off. In many ‘Xmas’ is a fitting name for all this as by using the anonymous ‘X’ it does not remotely claim to be anything about Christ. It would be difficult to see how it could.

For the Christian, Christmas is still some way off. In fact, this Sunday marks the start of the season of preparation for that feast. Advent is a time when try to make some space to think again about two intertwined ‘comings’: the second coming of Christ at the end of time and his first coming among us as a tiny babe. Both are linked and both shed light on the other. On this first Sunday of Advent we think not so much of the babe but of the man who is both Lord and Saviour coming triumphantly at the end of time to judge all peoples. That reflection gives the context for the celebration of Christ’s birth. The child who is born is none other than the eternal Son of God who has come into our world to save us.

The shops and the celebs and the parties are just distractions. Take part in it all if you want, but try to make some time each day in the next month to remember what really matters.

Christ the King – Sunday 20th November

November 15, 2011

Sunday is the wonderful feast of Christ the King. First initiated when storm clouds were gathering around Europe in the run up to the second world war, the feast still reminds us that, in the midst of economic and social turmoil, Jesus Christ is the King of all creation. He has already achieved victory through his cross and resurrection and he will come again in glory to establish his rule at the end of time. In the interim the church is called to be the sign and seed of his kingdom in our world today.

The values of the world are not the values of the Church. As we look back over the last year, because Advent Sunday in a week’s time is the beginning of a new liturgical round, we see the saints who are ambassadors of Christ’s Kingdom. They are drawn from all classes and colours, places and times, rich and poor, clever and illiterate, kings and paupers. They challenge the world’s view of happiness, power, and importance. They point us towards Christ the King.

Sunday’s is a majestic feast. It shows us Christ in his glory, but also shows us how that glory is shared with the saints and can be ours if we are prepared to open ourselves up to the rule of Christ in our lives.