On Sunday, December 1, the Church will mark the beginning of a new liturgical year. Our lectionary readings turn from the Gospel of Luke to the Gospel according to Matthew (Year A).
There are several things to be remembered about Matthew’s gospel. It is believed by some scholars that the writer is anonymous though the Apostle Matthew’s name is attached to it. When Jesus called Matthew, he was a despised tax collector unlike some of the other disciples who were fishermen. It is said that Matthew is the gospel written for the Jewish people to convince them that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and that in Jesus the prophecies of the Old Testament and the Law were fulfilled. This gospel is the only gospel to give us the genealogy of Jesus to prove that Jesus is the Son of David. Of the three synoptic gospels, this is the only one which uses the word Church. Perhaps the greatest characteristic of Matthew’s gospel is that it provides the best account of the teachings of Jesus.
December 1 also marks the beginning of the season of Advent. Advent, which means “coming”, begins four Sundays before Christmas Day. Our Sunday schedule also changes. We will begin having two services of Holy Eucharist at 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The 8 a.m. Eucharist will be quiet and the 10 a.m. Eucharist will continue to have music and choir.
Most stores and malls had already been in Christmas mode for weeks. Some of you may have already started your baking and/or your shopping. Still, the Church reminds us that there is another kind of preparation that we should be aware of in this season of hope and expectation. Advent calls us to spiritually prepare ourselves as we await the celebration of Christ’s birth and as we await his coming again in glory.
May Christ’s light and peace rule our hearts during this holy season of Advent.
Your sister in the Redeemer,