Happy New Year
But wait, it’s November 29. Huh? Well, today is the beginning of the year in the Christian liturgical calendar. The “Christian Year” walks through the life of Christ, beginning with His birth. Then, the rest of the year through the of November next year leads us through the story of the Gospel.
Liturgical prayer and worship offer us the opportunity to identify with Christ and His story over and over again. It can become the rhythm of our souls as we not only engage in the story itself but are invited to live it. In Advent, we wait for a coming Savior. In Lent (the 40 days before Easter, we journey with Christ just as He journeyed for 40 days in the wilderness, encountering temptation, loss, and suffering. We celebrate Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter as the culmination of the story. We enter into what is called “Ordinary Time” for much of the year as we learn to number our days and serve with Christ.
In this Advent Season, we wait. We don’t rush ahead to Christmas but engage in a pattern of waiting. We identify with both longing and hope. This orients us to the first coming of Christ and all the reasons why He came. And, we are also oriented to His second coming and the eternal realm.
As we wait for things in life, we can get into a lot of trouble unless we know what we are waiting for. We wait for things like a paycheck or marriage or healing. As we wait with hope, we are able to trust and our love grows deeper.
In Titus 2:11-13, we read: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Worldly passions are the result of waiting without hope but grace and hope teach us something. They “teach” us or lead us to say “no” to anything but the real thing.
As we enter into Advent this year, here is my prayer …
May we feel the weight as we wait.
May we see the depths and glory of life with Christ. Waiting has a way of shaping us and forming us into a deeper desire and delight in that for which we wait.
Once a week for the next four weeks of Advent, I’ll be posting a blog called “The Extravagance of Advent.” I’ll be co-writing with my friend, Doug Kelley.
And, if you are reading through “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room” this year. I created a Facebook group for posting questions, reflections, and comments in a community setting. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/695166341116258