This coming Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday in the Christian year, the last hurrah before we rush headlong into Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and New Year’s. This Sunday is a reminder that come what may, Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Christ the King Sunday exists to ask the all-important question: “If Jesus is King, what else matters?”
I can confess Jesus as King easily but my actions often betray me. This is especially true at this time of year. I’ve always been one who loved to get the mail out of the box. Holiday season has always made the experience even better. When I was a child we got plenty of magazines offering holiday pleasure. I perused the Sears catalog until it was practically memorized. I sorted the “Wish Books” from the rest of the mail and hoarded them like treasure. I whiled away hours, days, weeks, flipping the pages, compiling my lists: G.I. Joe play sets, walkie-talkies, and camouflage. Catalogs were about fantasy and the potential fulfillment of every want, need, and dream.
Catalogs, ironically enough, weren’t bad practice for anticipation. What is anticipation, anyway, except glimpsing something that might be, and deciding you want it, and awaiting its arrival, yearning for it even? But mystery: Mystery is something else entirely. There is no catalog code or customer service number that we can provide to procure the Messiah. There are no glossy pages that can contain the living power of the Incarnation, of the Holy Spirit moving through a world battered, bruised and beautiful, a world being called to remember its true song. Christ is coming. No credit card necessary. That’s what Christ the King Sunday is about! My sin so often is to wish for trivial things while Jesus is all that is really needed!
Don’t let this season catch you pondering wish lists that never ever truly satisfy our longings. We need more than self-serving gratification. What we need is the peace that will never wear out, break, or become outmoded by next year’s newer model. The Author of that kind of peace and contentment is Jesus. There is none other than Jesus who can meet our every need and satisfy our every longing. Only Jesus makes our wishes come true.
The great mystery is that Jesus, the anticipated King, has come and is coming again. We see the in-breakings of his kingdom all about us. However, the sparkle and glitter of holiday season produces such a glare that it’s almost impossible to squint through the blinding light. But, stare through the glitter we must if we are to know the peace that comes from knowing Christ as king. We can’t order peace from some 800-number or a website, but we can find it if we dare to be still and ponder the mystery of God in Christ.