Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." John 18:33-37
The end of the church year is upon us and next Sunday we begin again. We journey through Advent and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ anew in our lives. And the year ends with the closing chapters of his life on earth, his fulfillment of the life he was born to, the role of Savior of the world. We can make ourselves crazy with gathering what we need for the holidays, or we can open our hearts, starting over again, waiting for God to be born within us. We have a choice and a new road as this cycle ends, to let go of the past and move towards the life we were born to, a life of welcome joy and love.
Jesus is in his final days and being tested by Pilate. At this point there is no turning back. His death is inevitable, his betrayal complete, the action set in motion for which there is no stopping and no turning back. Jesus realizes, in these last hours, the end of the journey and what he had been born to do - bring God's love to the world by making it real and living among us. And we are invited today, to begin this new season, as a time of preparing our hearts and lives for God to dwell among us, in new and life giving ways.
Today, as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, may we close this year with a commitment to make room for God in the coming year. May we start anew, as small children, delighting in all that comes our way. May we know we have been born to be the children of God, wanted and loved, and born for the love and care of others. May we rejoice this day, knowing that the darkness of winter cannot keep us from the light and love of God.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.