Sunday not only marks the beginning of Advent, but the beginning of the Church calendar year. One of the things that has made the Church calendar powerful for centuries is that its rhythms reflect the rhythms of life. A quick review might be helpful:
Advent: A time for waiting and contemplating hope, joy, peace, and love.
Lent: A time for entering into the sacrificial rhythm of the cross
Easter: A time for celebrating resurrection and new life
Ordinary Days: A time where life is simply “normal”
A good practice as you begin the Church year, is to discern which of these rhythms you are currently in. Are you in a season of waiting? Of sacrifice? Of celebration? Or are you just simply living life?
When we know what season we are in, we are better able to approach the Church seasons.
If I am in Ordinary days, Advent is a time to prepare for Lent. Lent and Advent work together to incarnate the life of Christ into my ordinary life.
If I am in a sacrificial (Lenten) season, Advent is a time to remind me of where it is heading: a time to reflect on the persistence of peace, hope, love, and joy. It is a time to be reminded that beauty and hope are not lost even when life is at its most difficult.
Maybe you are in a time of Resurrection. This means Advent is a time to reflect on the goodness and beauty of life.
Or perhaps you are in the waiting place. And Advent is a time to name your experience. It is a time to confess and admit the difficulty of waiting and to be reminded God has not forgotten you in this time.
What season are you in?
Knowing what season we are in can be an amazing practice, and when we do it now with gratitude and thanksgiving in our hearts, we are better able to let the Church seasons to further form us into the likeness of Christ. Join us next week as we begin this beautiful, mysterious, difficult, and transformative process.