Happy New Year! No, I’m not a month early – the church’s liturgical calendar starts on the first Sunday of Advent, therefore this year the church’s new year is on Sunday, December 1!
As we start a new year, let’s take some time to reflect on the significance of each liturgical season starting with Advent. Advent means waiting. It is a time of anticipation for the birth of the Christ child. It is a time of longing for the coming of Christ our savior. Each Sunday of Advent we will be focusing on the hope, peace, joy, love, and light of the gift of Christ bringing near the kingdom of God.
This liturgical year, we will be looking closely at how the gospel of Matthew reveals Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Throughout this gospel there is a recurring refrain of “kingdom of heaven.” What is this kingdom? How will we know it when it comes? How does it differ from earthly powers and principalities? These are the questions we will be pondering this Advent season and throughout the liturgical year.
As we prepare our hearts and minds for this New Year, and the new ways God is leading us, let us stir with anticipation. As we long for the coming of Emmanuel to ransom captive Israel, let us listen for ways God is calling us to come alongside, preparing the way for the kingdom of God.
- Pastor Rebekah