We are deep into autumn, arguably my favorite time of year. Technically, Christmas happens in winter, but Advent is really a fall season that ends about the time that winter arrives. Doesn't matter to me: once the Halloween decorations hit the yards, I'm ready for lights, cold temps, and Christmas carols starting two months out! For those of you who will tire of Christmas quickly, I understand. Sometimes, it's too much.
But when I combine the sacred and the secular things that go with the season, I'm a junkie: there's never enough for me. It's not Christmas presents that get me going. It's the challenge of discovering again the meanings of all these special times that hit us from mid-October until Epiphany in early January.
The liturgical year winds down with what some call "Christ the King Sunday" just before Thanksgiving, then revs up with Advent the Sunday after Thanksgiving. "Happy New (liturgical) Year" will be on my lips on Advent One, causing some people to grab their phones to see if by some chance they slept through December. Luckily, my reputation as a weird person allows me a certain amount of leeway when it comes to the strange things I bring to faith. I like marching to a different drummer, though: it challenges me to try to figure out how to be taken seriously while offering to people, those who also hear their own drum, a kindred spirit, one who won't always understand them but will accept them, no matter what, because we know, don't we?
Christians are all supposed to be oddballs.
We don't march to anyone's tune but God's.
We listen for that tune, we hope to get our marching orders from it.
Our "orders" are simply to love God, to love each other, and to love the people and the world that is all around us: NO EXCEPTIONS! In a time and in a nation that is full of people trying to separate "us" from "them," Christians have a message: THERE IS NO "THEM!" Shout it from the mountaintops and from the shorelines, in the stadiums and at the voting places: we are Christians, and we are, like God, in love with everyone.
The Prince of Peace is coming, and at the end of this coming month, we will begin to get ready. November worship begins with All Saints Day, when we will remember our congregational brothers and sisters who entered their eternal rest this past year and joined all the saints of all time. We will be inspired to think about and share our Thanksgiving Offering for support of Disciples Higher Education ministries.
Some of us will donate food for those who won't have a Thanksgiving meal without us. We will give thanks by sharing our blood at the next Red Cross Blood Drive. The church will be decorated for Advent. Youth and Adults will continue with fellowship groups and Christian education. And we will begin planning for the Great Feast which we will serve to the community on Christmas Day.
Why wouldn't I be as excited as a child?
This is our faith, this is who we are:
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Wilson, North Carolina!
These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.