Happy New Year! No, I didn’t miss a page in my calendar. On December 2 we start a new liturgical church year, beginning with the season of Advent.
I have always liked the fact that the church year ends and begins again before the calendar year does. We just celebrated Christ the King Sunday, which marked the end of the liturgical church calendar, and now we look forward to Advent and the start of a new liturgical year.
We all know what’s expected of us as we go from one calendar year into another. We will celebrate the highlights of the year that is coming to a close, and we will make resolutions (that we hope we’ll be able to keep) to try make the next year even better.
But what is expected of us as we go from one liturgical church year into another? Well for starters, before we get too focused on, “What will I do for ‘me’ in the new year?” we are able to focus on, “What is God doing for me now?” instead. I like that a lot. To me, the fact that the church’s new year comes about a month before the calendar’s new year is a gift in itself.
This is the perfect time to remember that the best gift we can ever hope to get (and we have already received it) is the gift of God’s Son. No new year’s resolution we make will ever come close to that for making our life better. God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to be born on this earth, to live among us, and to rescue us from eternal death. Knowing that, I just know it’s going to be a great new year!
Here’s an Advent gift from me to you: Download Women of the ELCA’s resource, A Different Kind of Journey: Advent as a Walk, Not a Sprint, to start the new church year off in a meaningful way.
Kris Brugamyer, of Dickinson, N.D., is serving on the churchwide executive board.