I’m writing this blog on Sinterklaas Day: December 5. As a child growing up, this was the day my family opened presents. My parents retained this traditional holiday from their Dutch heritage, and so December 5th was the day we mentally prepared for every year. Great food! Amazing presents! I’ll never forget opening presents like roller blades or my first blue plastic snowboard. We anticipated Sinterklaas Day like college football fans anticipate the national championship. My parent’s hope was that by getting the whole ‘presents thing’ out of the way earlier in the month, we could properly prepare for the real meaning of the Christmas for the rest of it.
Our small group this Sunday will focus on Preparing for the King. Before we celebrate communion together, we will focus on words from John’s Gospel. The context here is Pontius Pilate arguing with God’s People about what to do with this ‘criminal’ named Jesus. Of course, these verses aren’t focusing on preparing for a babe in Bethlehem. This was a different type of preparation for the king:
Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” (John 19:14-16a)
It’s no small detail that John mentions that the day of Jesus’ trial was the day of Preparation of the Passover. He’s recalling how families were supposed to be preparing slaughtered lambs for the family meal of Passover. Instead, they fill the streets preparing for the slaughter of the Lamb of God. Rather than prepare for the biggest day of the year- recalling their redemption via Egyptian Exodus- they were zestfully preparing for the death of their Savior.
But God takes our participation of that day and takes it with him to the cross. We got it wrong, but like all things, God draws straight lines with crooked sticks. The type of preparing we are called to during this season of advent is to recall the Lamb who was slain. Let’s properly prepare together to remember the man called the Slain Lamb and the Lion of Judah. The preparation we are called to do now is to await the Return of the King.