Advent and the Church Calendar

by Vince

Ryan Hamm, the associate editor of Relevant Magazine, reflects on his experience with Advent:

There’s something comforting to me that things don’t happen immediately with the church calendar. Because things don’t happen immediately in life. We don’t turn off the light on Thanksgiving evening and then wake up on the day after suddenly celebrating Christmas just like we don’t go though a traumatic experience and get healed in a day, or fall in love in a day, or make friends in a day. There is value in truly being in the present, preparing for the future with what you’re given. When we adjust ourselves to the timing of God, we find a breathtaking, faith-giving depth in the booming quiet.

One of yesterday’s readings in churches around the world was Romans 13:11-14. Part of that passage reads “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near.” It’s a reminder that the light is just on the horizon—but it’s not yet here. We wait and yearn for the light. In the meantime, we’re in the darkness but we live as if we’re in the light. We spend our time preparing ourselves for the joy of Christ’s birth and second coming. We wait, but we don’t spend our time doing nothing. We wait expectantly, like those virgins who trimmed the wicks of their lamps. We wait like Simeon. And in the waiting, God moves.

The liturgy and church calendar were not been a big part of my life until about a year ago. Working at a Presbyterian church immersed me into the calendar and dating a girl with a religion major who happens to love spiritual formation and ancient practices of being got me into the lectionary.

As I woke up this morning at 5:30am and made my way to our desk and cracked open my Bible, lectionary, and journal, moving to a new week is exciting as it follows a path countless others are (and have) personally and corporately following.

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