HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
No, you are not reading an old SPIRE issue…
We are in Advent now and Advent, in the church calendar, is technically the beginning of a new year. The church year ends on Christ the King Sunday (usually the Sunday before Thanksgiving) and begins on 1st Advent (the Sunday that falls after Thanksgiving). Each year begins the next year/cycle of lectionary passages and they are broken down into three years;
A, B and C.
It might seem weird at first to imagine that we start the New Year on Nov 29th but if you think about it, it might make sense. New Year’s Eve is usually about celebrating the blessings of the past year and giving hope to new resolutions and new beginnings.
Since we have all just finished enjoying a bountiful feast of Thanksgiving, we have hopefully paused, even for a minute, to give thanks to God for all the blessings of the past year. Post-thanksgiving feast, pushing back from the table, we have likely already started our resolutions (i.e., perhaps to not ‘over-eat’ this holiday season). As Black Friday adverts clamored for our attention, we also may have made a resolution about not going ‘overboard’ this Christmas. Or at least hope to keep our spending habits in line and giving gifts that are more thoughtful and/or more authentic.
Lastly, the beauty of New Years is that we can say good bye to all that was hard, hurtful or grief-filled and put hope in a New Year, which can be filled with promise, courage and faith.
That, my friends, is also the true meaning of Advent. Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. It is a season for all those things we want to witness, again or for the first time. The word advent is an anglicized word from the Latin word adventus,
meaning “coming”. So hope, promise, courage and faith are coming; they are literally on the way.
In the daily, sometimes hourly barrage of news headlines about terrorist attacks, planes being shot down, school shootings and civil unrest, we need a new year. We need hope, promise, courage and faith. We need hope beyond all hope. This however will not come by making the perfectly decorated tree, getting the perfect gifts for family and friends and whatever your vision of the perfect Christmas is.
It comes from gathering together and worshiping the God who brings love to us in an infant-child.
It comes from preparing our souls for the coming of the One in whom we live and move and have our being.
It comes from the Word, made flesh, and who is the ONLY ONE who can bring peace to the earth.
It comes from our hearts being willing to be the first to beat swords into plowshares and make spears into pruning hooks. It comes
from our words and prayers and actions that fight against nations lifting up swords against one another.
I hope and deeply pray that we all have a blessed NEW YEAR as we begin Advent.
I hope and deeply pray we all find more courage, hope and faith.
I hope and deeply pray that all your New Year’s hopes and dreams are made evident in the arrival of Immanuel, God with us.
Celebrating the New Year with you while we wait for the Christ-child,
♥ Rev. Jen