I have good news for you. A new year, with a fresh start, is coming. Sooner than you think.
A new church year begins on Sunday, Nov. 27, with the start of the season of Advent. From that beginning, the church calendar ushers us through the seasons of Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time, passing through these seasons as a way of rehearsing again the story of the Gospel — the story of Jesus’ life. As we move through these seasons you’ll notice some subtle differences to the way we worship as we mark the changing time. We follow this calendar as another way of living the whole of our lives, including how we mark time, with reference to the good news of Jesus Christ.
For many of us, the church calendar is new and unfamiliar. I want to commend it to you as a helpful tool in ordering our lives around following Jesus. If you’re interested in learning more about the church calendar, I’d suggest the book by Bobby Gross, Living the Christian Year. It is a great informational and devotional resource. More specific to Advent is this article by David Taylor reflecting on the start of the season (with a link to a devotional that conveniently matches the dates for this year). Another resource for Advent is this book, which Shannon and I have found helpful. Finally, some folks in our diocese run a graphic design firm that has some creative calendars for sale; check them out. Also, a calendar that our family has used can be found here.
I know some of y’all have family traditions for living into the season of Advent, marking this time and anticipating Jesus’ coming. Let’s share these with one another in conversation and in our groups and grow together in living our days, weeks, and months in reference to God’s story!
This Sunday, we will look at the value of transformation, of our lives being shaped by the Gospel and the reality of God’s coming kingdom. I hope you can join us.