Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. As R and I have begun to worship in the Anglican tradition, time has become more important. As a reformed Evangelical, the church calendar had much less importance than it typically does in the Catholic (or Anglican) traditions. Those traditions follow periods of time dependent on historical church feasts, ceremonies, or commemorations.
Be patient with me, this is still unfamiliar territory.
So yesterday marked the New Year, in terms of the church calendar. The New Year is not ushered in with fanfare and exploding lights, but in darkness, and with anticipation, like the hush before someone tries something amazing. Some traditions take this literally, putting away the harvest plenty and abundance for austerity and solemnity. A blogging friend changed out her set of dinner plates.
I find myself awash in an unfamiliar sea. Like most recent additions, I’m still finding my footing in this new tradition. I think our Anglican church is the right place for us, melting together solid, historical Christianity and teaching with the Catholic, high-church practice that is so beloved of my husband’s. And he’s the one who introduced me to the idea of daily, solemn, remembrance of Advent.
So here is my hush before the storm:
I have signed up for a “busy person’s retreat”, taking place at my university, where I meet with a guide for 30 minutes a day and commit to living in “joyful anticipation” during this week (and the whole month, till Christmas). Our family has started a Jesse tree, so the kids can take part in the geneaology of Christ. And each Sunday, the church marks the time with songs, lessons and readings that keep us mindful of the time.
And so I am still, and do less, and listen more, waiting- hoping- and watching in the time before time.
LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.