“Already!? What happened to Advent? Christmas? And Auld Lang Syne?”
Well...as Christians, Sunday, November 29 started our liturgical New Year! So HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Although the month of January is named for the Roman god Janus who had two faces-- one looking backwards and one looking forwards-- and the date of January 1 was based on celebrations surrounding the winter solstice of December 22 (the shortest day and longest night of the year) we Christians base our liturgical year around the life and events surrounding Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.
The first Sunday of Advent then marks the beginning of our new year. And just as depictions of Janus were a reminder to look back to the past to make good decisions for the future, Advent is a time for us, not only to look back in celebration of the birth and first coming of Christ to earth, but to look forward to His second coming.
When I was in college, I was once asked the question, “What would you do differently today if you knew that Jesus Christ was coming back again tomorrow?”
Good question. My answer?
I have tried to live my everyday life thinking that Christ’s second coming is a very real possibility at any moment. I remind myself that I should be like the wise virgins in Matthew 25 -- ready with lamps lit for the Bridegroom’s return.
What does that mean in my everyday life? And what does that mean to my plans for my future?
Well, it means I take the FACTS of the REALITY of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection and the amazing LOVE, SACRIFICE and POWER they offer to me seriously. These are not just nice “holidays”-- events and seasons offered to mark time, decorate my house, and get together with family and friends. These are POWERFUL and MEANINGFUL mysteries with which God has ordained and saturated this earth, offering me beautiful reminders of all He has done for me everywhere I turn. They were given to bring HOPE and HELP to me in my everyday struggles.
Each day is true gift. One that we will never have back.
Is your lamp lit?
Perhaps take this Advent to truly prepare for Christ’s coming-- not only in celebration of what He has already done by coming in humility and vulnerability...but to pray to have Him help you make goals that align with how He would have you prepare for His powerful next coming.
Ask God what His dreams are for you? For your family? Maybe go on a date with your spouse or with a friend and talk about it.
There is no time like the present to live in light of the Power of the Incarnation and with our sights set on the promise of HIS Second Coming.
“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:13
Dear Lord, Wow! How time flies! I can so easily let time pass with great intentions about what I would like to do for You, but never actually get around to doing it! Please give me time each day to place all of my agenda before you, and allow You, in Your wisdom, love and parental concern for me, my family and this world, to show me what are “good ideas” of my own making and what are “God ideas,” --things that would bring You the most glory and me the greatest purpose and joy. I confess, I am weak and prone to getting blown off course. Help me to set my eyes on You and live each blessed moment in the light of all You have done and will do for me. I love You Lord, keep my lamp lit with Your Holy Fire, for nothing else will sustain me.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fun fact: It should be noted that if a person attends the Holy Mass everyday for 3 years, having been present for all the readings of the 3 cycles, most of the Holy Bible will have been read to him during that time frame.
The following is a glance at the liturgical year:
Advent 4 weeks of preparation for Christmas Christmas (birth of Christ)
Holy Family Mary the Mother of God (New Year’s Day) Epiphany Baptism of the Lord
Ordinary Time I
Lent Ash Wednesday Passion (Palm) Sunday Easter Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.) Easter Vigil (The Resurrection) Easter (Celebrate the Resurrection at Masses - The greatest Feast of the year.) Second to Sixth Sundays Ascensio Pentecost
Ordinary Time II Trinity Sunday Body and Blood of Christ Ordinary Time II (continued...) Solemnity of Christ the King