We usually keep our decorations up for Christmas through January 6th. We’re so busy in Advent that we need the 12 days of Christmas to exhale and enjoy what we worked so hard to prepare. We’ll do that with many of our decorations this year, but not our tree. It expired on January 1st – too dry.
As a church this weekend we hosted the Parking Lot Mission and fed warm breakfasts to financially-poor neighbors, helped 48 children in Florence County receive beds and bedding of their own, were led in worship by children of God from ages 4-84, and invited the community to hear the story of God’s love while joining us in supporting The CARE House of the Pee Dee. It was a good weekend of sharing what God has provided us (Luke 3:10-11) and honoring the God who gives us far more than we can ever give in return.
I concluded my sermon yesterday saying that now is the time to hope. Hope, Biblically speaking, is more than wishing. Hope is a bold expression of faith. Hebrews 11:1 teaches us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hope is clinging to the belief that something better will come because God is good and loving and righteous and wants something better for his creation.
I have never stood guard against a group of people aiming to do me, my family, or my country harm. I’ve never stood on the 38th Parallel of the Korean Peninsula, or on a watchtower in the Kandahar base in Afghanistan, or on a Coast Guard ship deck outside of Miami. I don’t know what it’s like to spend hours and hours, days upon days watching for something that may or may not come, but if it comes is potentially a grave threat.
This Sunday is the end of the Church Year. We’ve worked our way from Advent through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Kingdomtide, and are at the culmination: Christ the King Sunday. The whole year builds toward this because his reign is forever. Jesus’ infancy didn’t last long, nor did his earthly life, for that matter. In his resurrection and ascension he assumed to his heavenly throne, which is his for all time. Whatever else would seek our devotion and to reign in our lives, whatever else would attempt to have dominion in this world, it is Christ who reigns above all.