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Plumtree Church

Church Year

November - The Feast of Christ the King

Christ the King is a title used for Jesus within all the major Christian traditions. The word ‘Christ’ means the ‘anointed one’. In human history the highest status given to an individual was one of ‘kingship’. Anyone given such a title was anointed with precious oils, was considered to be very powerful and held in high esteem and / or fear, by their subjects.

In a Christian context and Church history, the title refers to the idea of the ‘Kingdom of God’ in which Christ is described as ‘seated at the right hand of God’ who rules over ‘all creation’.

In Luke’s gospel (Chp.1:31 – 33) the angel Gabriel proclaims to Mary:

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will name him, Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High and the Lord God will give Him the throne of David and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”

In Matthew’s gospel (Chp.2: 2) the question is asked;

“Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews?”

and in John (Chp.1:49) Jesus is addressed by one of His followers as:

“The King of Israel”.

In the first letter of Paul to Timothy (Chap. 6: 14 -16) St Paul uses a recurring Old Testament phrase:    

“King of Kings and Lord of Lords”.

Similarly, in the Book of Revelation it declares the Lamb to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Chp.5).

In the trial of Jesus (John 18) Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, implies that ‘Christ’ is a royal title. He asks Jesus if He is a King but Jesus never claims an earthly kingship. Despite washing his hands of the trial of Jesus, Pilate nailed to the cross the title ‘King of the Jews’. No one is sure whether he was serious or was mocking both Jesus and the Jewish leaders who had declared at Jesus’ trial that they had no king but Caesar (John Chp.19: 15).

In most of the Christian traditions the Feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the last Sunday before Advent begins; where its theme of Christ’s rule over all creation makes a fitting end to the Church’s liturgical year.

Advent opens up a new liturgical year as we await and prepare to celebrate the birth of a baby who is:

‘The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords’.




Advent marks the beginning of the Church year. It is a time for reflection in darkness, for renewal of hope and for a movement towards a beginning. The season of Advent, as it first emerged in the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries, lasted, like Lent, for 40 days. Later tradition developed the Advent we know today, of four Sundays before Christmas Day. 

It is a season of expectation and preparation as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ. Church decorations are simple and sparse, and purple is the traditional colour used. Advent falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent and Christmas. 

The first Sunday of Advent is the day we light the first candle in our Advent wreath. There are four candles on the outside that are purple (sometimes one is pink) and the candle in the middle is white. The candles are lit in the same order each week so that by the fourth week, the candles have burnt down by different amounts. (The pink candle can be lit on the third Sunday, known as Gaudete or 'Rose Sunday'.) 



We also begin the "The Posada" which celebrates Joseph and Mary's journey from Bethlehem to Nazareth in search of a place for Baby Jesus to be born.  In Plumtree, small figures of the Holy Family travel from home to home in the parish and are received back at St Mary's on Christmas Eve at our Christingle service.