I want to wish everyone a belated happy New Year. Two Sundays ago was the beginning of Advent, the start of the Christian year. My apologies for not getting this post up sooner.
Growing up in a tradition that did not observe the Christian Year, one that, in fact, spent most of December railing against the sin of religious holidays, Advent has extra special meaning to me now. You see, Advent provides a context for Christmas. Without Advent, the Feast of the Nativity can become overly sentimental and loose focus. Without Advent, Christmas is nothing more than a historically inaccurate birthday celebration. (Kinda like Michael Scott’s “Happy Birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party’s so lame.”)
Since I began observing the Christian Year several years ago, I’ve come to understand that all seasons, feasts and fasts are important to conforming our lives to Christ’s. Zach Wendling made a similar observation regarding the relation of Good Friday and Easter. It’s easy to celebrate Easter, but the celebration of such becomes vapid unless proceeded by Good Friday (and, even better, by the keeping of a holy lent.)
In closing, I would urge all my non-liturgical brothers and sisters to take this new year and use these weeks leading up to Christmas to study the Christian Year and consider the wisdom and depth to be found in keeping it.