Christian Church traditions were created to teach the lessons, beliefs and doctrines of a particular time to the average person of that same time. Over the centuries, some of those traditions have gone the wayside while others remained. The establishment of a Liturgical Year is one tradition that remains strong in many Christian denominations. For me, following the Liturgical Year and its universal message is a comfort as well as a reminder that God is always present – in light as well as in darkness.
The Liturgical Year, or Cycle as some call it, looks something like this:
God creates >> Humans Sin >> God Breaks In >> Humans Joyfully Respond>>
Sunday, November 25th we celebrated “Christ the King” – God offers renewal through Christ’s reign of Love in all of creation (universal not just earthly). We ended the cycle and now we begin again with Advent.
Advent begins with the recognition of human sinfulness; our breaking covenant and breaking away from God. It is a time of the dark night of the soul. How fitting for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. The message of darkness is reflected in our experience of the natural world; less daylight, cold temperatures, a sense of urgency or caution. Over the next four weeks the lessons and messages of Advent will name humanities brokenness and speak the prophecies of God’s promise to Break In with forgiveness and hope.
Advent gives us this time to examine our own sense of brokenness with the knowledge that God has promised to Break In. Honest self-reflection is hard work. But knowing we are not left sitting alone in the darkness is hopeful. In what ways can you bring the Love of Christ closer to you? How can you begin to mend your brokenness? How might you be the Love of Christ for another?
The secular world moves into the frenzy of “Christmas” and completely skips over the reflective, expectancy of Advent. Giving birth takes nine months. Can we give four weeks to give birth to New Hope? Slow down, wonder and dream, make room for God to Break In to your life through the coming of this Christ-Child and then you, too, will be able to sing “Joy to the World the Lord is Come!”
Grace & Peace,