December 3rd marked the start of Advent 2017 — those four weeks of anticipation and preparation that we repeat every year while we await the birthday of the baby Jesus. In our church we decorate the sanctuary with reminders of the season.
In addition to the Advent wreath and its candles, there is a Christmas tree, potted poinsettias, a nativity set on the communion table. Props from the annual pageant are grouped near the chancel, and banners adorn the walls.
But now Advent is behind us. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are past and we move towards Epiphany, the twelfth night of Christmas. Twelfth Night commemorates when the three Kings, or Wise Men visited the Christ Child. The word ‘Epiphany‘ comes from Greek and it means to show, referring to Jesus being revealed to the world.
When the anticipation is over and decorations come down — when we return to the everydayness of our lives — what then? Is it all over until next year?
We know that he has already come once, bringing his followers salvation and a promise of eternity with him. The Bible teaches us there is a second Advent … that he is coming again. In the meantime, we have much to reflect on and a lot of growing and maturing to do as we work out this life he has given us.
Following Epiphany there are eleven months before Advent 2018 begins. How will you spend the time? How will you help reveal Christ to the world this year?