Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday in Advent

The Church Year begins ahead of the calendar year. It’s out of sync with the rest of the world, much like the Church itself is out of sync with the rest of the world. That’s what I love about the Church Year. That’s what I love about the Church. It’s counter-cultural in that respect. The Church Year doesn’t seek to conform to what is being observed or celebrated in society. It seeks to focus on Christ and Him crucified. The Church Year follows the life of our Lord. It is only in His life that we have life. At least eternal life. Ultimately, that is what matters.

Not that this life is not important. It is vitally important. Otherwise, why has God placed us here on this earth to live? He has given us all things and we live our lives in light of the place He has prepared for us from eternity. As Christians we don’t live with our head in the clouds. We live with an eye toward eternity but our existence is very real, very here and now. God doesn’t expect us to reach up toward Him, He comes down to us.

Advent begins the Church Year with this focus. “Advent” is from the Latin for “coming.” Advent is all about our Lord coming to us. The Church Year is all about His coming to us. This is the very heart of Christianity. Our Lord came at Bethlehem, He will come again in glory on the Last Day. In Advent we meditate on our waiting for that Day. We are reminded that each day of our lives is lived knowing that we cannot reach up to Him but He comes to us in His Gospel. He comes to us in Baptism. He comes to us in the proclamation of His Word and the pronouncement of His Absolution. And He comes to us in His Holy Supper.

I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year.

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