As Anglicans one our distinctions among the various Christian expressions is the way we mark time through the Church Calendar. In this rather ancient way of walking through the year with Jesus, the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas are marked with the season of Advent. The name for this season comes from Latin and means the arrival of a notable person or event. In relation to Christmas, this season is dual focused. Most naturally for many of us we think of the arrival of Christ. However, this season also orients us to the future arrival of the fullness of Christ’s kingdom. This Advent we are hoping to participate in and celebrate the arrival of Christ in our neighborhoods.
This focus for the season will show up in several ways. It will be the focus of our sermons during the month of December as we hope to understood the nature of this coming kingdom. The arrival of Christ in the neighborhood will also be the theme of our Advent Event on December 8th, during which we will celebrate the work of InterVarsity student leaders who bring Christ into their dorms, classrooms, and fraternity/sorority houses. Finally, there is an invitation for all of us to bring the kingdom near to our own neighborhoods through hospitality events.
As for this final effort, each of us is called to share the love of God with the people with whom God has blessed us to share our lives. These are our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and classmates. We use the Greek term ‘oikos,’ meaning extended household, to designate this group, which often includes 8 to 15 people.
Our hope is that through our small groups, with a few friends, or perhaps on our own we can each host an event in our homes which gathers these people around our dining tables, living rooms, or back yards to enjoy one another’s company and then to offer an invitation. Great events to invite our friends would be our Advent Event on December 8th, Christmas Caroling on December 22nd, or at Christmas Eve service on December 24th.
Participating in the coming kingdom is not easy, and so we’ll need to encourage one another in the effort and celebrate our successes and failures. But what a joy it is to share with others the love of God as we have received it at Holy Spirit Church and throughout our lives.