I used to think of November as a non-month in which nothing happened except the cold, the damp and the dark. These are the days in which we would think of death – whether in observing All Saints, All Souls or Remembrance-tide. The month would climax at Christ the King and then we would be thinking about Christmas as we observed Advent.
But Christ the King and Christmas are linked, the opposite sides of the same coin. One is the coming of Jesus in poverty and simplicity, wholly dependent on His parents, while the other is His coming again in power and great glory, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Yet Christmas reflects our own sense of uncertainty as we have observed the events of the last year. In this we are indeed joined by Jesus who also lived in uncertain times, in a land under Roman occupation and supported by some very willing collaborators, in all levels of society.
In His ministry, Jesus was open to all: men and women; Jews, Romans, Greeks and those of other cities; the high-born (Nicodemus) and camp-women (Mary of Magdala, a Roman camp). He was closed to none, except those who had closed themselves to Him, and the point about His friendship with the poor and the dispossessed was that nobody else would pay any attention to them. So he would feed the crowd, heal lepers and the crippled and raise the dead. He would teach and comfort and encourage any who would receive Him and He would rebuke any who thought to rely on their own standing or learning or their own self-selected good works.
This is the same Jesus who comes to us, and who is eager to join us and spend time with us. He comes to us in Himself and for ourselves – without being obstructed by organisations or social conventions or historic custom. But while He comes to us as we are, He also brings His own priorities and perceptions which are almost certain to challenge ours.
For us the challenge is to receive Him as He comes, and to allow His priorities to overrule ours, and to allow His Word to be heard amid the noise and distractions of ours.
O Come, let us adore Him.
Every blessing in this season of Advent, Christmastide and in the New Year.