Dec 1 - Advent #1
The 1st Week of Advent
December 1, 2018
This isn’t one of our readings for this week but the Advent season begins this Saturday and I can’t get into the “Advent mood” without a little Isaiah.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined. – Isaiah 9:2
At Wheatland we practice Christian Year Spirituality. I want us to be familiar with this unusual phrase. Since this week is the beginning of the new liturgical year this is an appropriate time to introduce it.
Christian Year Spirituality is the act of organizing our acts of worship, and all our spiritual life, around the liturgical calendar. The calendar begins with Advent and ends, as we saw this past week, with Christ the King Sunday (or Saturday, as the case may be). The secular calendar has its own “religious” dates such as the 4th of July, Black Friday, and March Madness. Rather than allowing that to guide our spiritual lives we follow ancient paths that guide us into companionship with Jesus Christ.
Our year begins the four Sundays before Christmas with the season of Advent. This is a penitential season or a season of repentance, reflection, and preparation. It is similar to Lent and some groups within Christianity fast during this time. Christmas doesn’t begin until December 25 and then lasts only 12 days. (Instead of the two months of Christmas advertising that begins before Halloween.)
Advent opens up to Christmas which proceeds into Epiphany. Lent comes next which lasts about six weeks, the second longest season on the calendar. It begins on Ash Wednesday (March 6, 2018) and progresses into Holy Week and Easter. Of course, Easter is not just a day but a 50 day season! Each Sunday of Easter is a time worthy of celebration. Near its end, we celebrate the Ascension of Christ and then concludes on the Day of Pentecost. After Pentecost we go into the long “green” season of Ordinary Time where the days are numbered (hence the word ‘ordinary’) until we conclude it all with Christ the King.
Note how we begin the year reading the Scriptures and praying the prayers of longing. In Advent we long for Christ to come and deliver us by entering once again into the experience of Israel in exile. Much happens in-between but the year concludes with a coronation of Christ as King in the Kingdom of God and Lord of all.
Each week is an opportunity to follow Christ in the journey. Along with the entire Christian community, we long for Christ’s arrival, we celebrate his birth, we marvel at his miracles and ministry, and we journey with him to the cross. At the pinnacle of the year we celebrate his resurrection, proclaim his Lordship at the Ascension and await the coming of the Spirit.
The calendar on your phone marks time as it passes. It helps us keep schedules and reminds us of where we are supposed to be. The calendar of the Church helps us keep schedules and reminds us of where we belong too. In the presence of Christ.
Here is the collect for the 1st Week of Advent:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of
darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of
this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit
us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come
again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the
dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.