Advent: The New Year of the Church
As I sat in mass yesterday on the first Sunday of Advent, I loved my priest's homily on the topic of the New Year in the church starting that day. It seems odd, especially in a culture where the New Year starts January 1st, but when you really think about it, it makes complete sense.
Starting the liturgical year with Advent, or the time before Christmas in which we prepare for Christ's birth on Christmas, allows us to align our lives with our purpose on earth, which is living a life based in Christ with eyes looked to heaven. Too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that we forget what it is actually all about - Christ's birth.
Advent, therefore, allows us the time in the weeks leading up to Christmas, to take a step back and reflect on where we want to go with our spiritual life for the New Year. We can meditate on what we did well in the past year and where we can improve when it comes to our spiritual life.
A few weeks ago on Thanksgiving, I relayed that I was thankful this year for the gift of insight, a gift that I owe entirely to God who has allowed my prayer and spiritual life to continue to grow this past year. Although I am far from perfect and have a lot of work I would still like to accomplish spiritually, I know I'm on the right track with God on my side.
This is what I offer to you all today as well. As we kick off the Advent season, consider what you can do this Advent season and beyond to make this liturgical year your best yet spiritually. Praying daily, attending daily mass once or more per week, reading spiritual books and reflections - these are just a small sampling of ways to deepen your faith in this new liturgical year. It doesn't have to be complicated or extravagant. Simply spending time with God in prayer can have a huge impact on your life and provide you with insights into your life as well.
It doesn't matter if you are Catholic like myself or another religion, this New Year of the church is a wonderful time of renewal and recommitment to our faith, because without faith, what would we have?