The End Of The Church Year


The Sunday after Thanksgiving introduces the season of Advent, a season of preparation for the celebration of the birth in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we leave the old church year we are reminded of the passing of time. Each minute that passes adds up to hours, hours to days, days to months, months to years. Each step in that progression brings us closer to the end of life personally and of the world in which we live. This is truly a despairing progression except that as the old church year ends we enter into Advent and a new beginning. In each new beginning we are reminded of the truth that the Christian is closer to the entrance into eternal life, the ultimate blessing for all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This calms our fears.

This writer knows from personal experience because he was on the receiving end of the professor’s rebuke. As the student was watching the clock in class instead of listening to the lecture, the professor said nothing. He just pulled out a placard from under the lecture table and held it up before the class. It said simply, “Time will pass! Will you?”

That statement has a spiritual application. Time will pass. It is passing. We too will pass – from time to eternity. So the question really is, “Where will we spend eternity when time is passed?”

That is not a question that we can dismiss lightly. It is not one to put off until tomorrow. Tomorrow is guaranteed to nobody on this earth. We need to consider the question so that day by day we might be assured of the answer. The answer is that “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). The believer in Jesus Christ will be saved. The believer in Jesus Christ is one who los honestly at his life past and says, “I have sinned.” He who despairs over his sin need not despair over his future. In the confidence of faith he says, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13), and believes that God will show mercy because of and for the sake of the Lord Jesus “Who became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). For all such as believe there is no fear in the passing of time, for the passing of time is but the element through which we pass “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). So this Advent season is for the faithful Christian a mini-celebration as we anticipate the greater, namely, the Advent of our Lord Jesus to take His children Home. Christmas itself is not only a time of celebration of what is past when Christ came to dwell among us, but a celebration of what is and shall be when believers in Jesus shall go where He is!

But let each ask himself- “How have I spent the past church year?” Has it been one of indifference, neglect, and spiritual self-abuse? If so, there is still time – time to repent and time to start anew, time to study and be refreshed and grow in faith in the Lord Jesus. As class time passes and a test is failed, the test can still be made up. When the time of life passes there is no making up. Let this Advent season approaching be a reminder to us all of the yearning that the Lord has for each of us. The Lord speaks through the writer to the Hebrews telling us of the blessing as well as of the loss should we not heed His yearning call. This call is no better manifest than through the fulfillment of the divine promise, the birth of our Savior.

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do away err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I swear in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Hebrews 3:7-15).