Advent - The Christian New Year
Dec 02, 2008 by Howard Baker | 0 Comments
Happy New Year! Happy new Christian year that is. Sunday, Nov. 30 marked the beginning of Advent and the beginning of the new church year. Here is a reflection from Fr. Richard Rohr from the introduction to his booklet Preparing for Christmas to help orient our minds and hearts for a fresh coming of the Lord Jesus into our lives:
Jesus identified his own message with what he called the coming of the "reign of God" or the "kingdom of God," whereas we had often settled for the sweet coming of a baby who asked little of us in terms of surrender, encounter, mutuality or any studying of the Scriptures or the actual teaching of Jesus. Sentimentality, defined as trumped-up emotions, can be an avoiding of and substitute for an actual relationship, as we see in our human relationships, too. We...must admit that there is a constant temptation among us to avoid... the Word of God for private and pious devotions that usually have little power to actually change us or call our ego assumptions into question. The Word of God, however, confronts, converts and consoles us, in that order. The suffering, injustice and devastation on this planet are too great now for any infantile gospel or any infantile Jesus. Actually, that has always been true. "Jesus is Lord!" of all creation! This was the rallying cry of the early church (Philippians 2:11, Acts 2:36, Romans 1:4, etc.). It is to this adult and cosmic Christ that we are saying, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20), which are the final words of the Bible. This makes our entire lives, and the life of the church, one huge "advent."...Remember Advent is always--until the end of days.
The wonder, mystery and beauty of this Advent season is captured in just a few words by Madeleine L'Engle's poem "After Annunciation":
This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child.
(For the history buffs, you can see an "Advent History" pdf document on urbanskye.org)