Years ago, a friend of mine, married to a pastor, said happily, “Oh, I love Advent.” Advent? Christmas was all that concerned me—cards, letters, presents, parties.
One of the things I have enjoyed about Christian blogging is being connected to the church’s liturgical year. Several of my fellow Christian bloggers in England are Anglican clergy-people ; their blog posts, many of which are trial runs or second helpings of sermons —steadily troll through the church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, the Annunciation, Easter, the Transfiguration, Pentecost, as well as the feasts of Saints, from Scripture and real life.
A true communion of saints.
The Cambridge poet, pastor and theologian Malcolm Guite goes even further. In a series of brilliant, luscious sonnets, he sonnetizes through the liturgical year; no, I am not kidding! Check out his multi-media blog posts: he reads his wonderful sonnets, which are accompanied by thoughtful text and images.
The liturgical calendar brings balance to one’s engagement with Christ. We are continually considering him from different angles—in the powerlessness of infancy; the obscurity of childhood and young adulthood in which his character was forged; his brief meteoric years of fame and celebrity; his tragic, unbearably painful death; his glorious resurrection, and his gentle empowering post-resurrection ministry.
While, sadly, I find liturgy itself boring, and my mind wanders while we recite those ancient words, the liturgical year is different. It provides new subjects for meditation or contemplation, and thus serves to broaden a spiritual life which might otherwise narrow into a celestial shopping list, or a dry trolling through Adoration-Contrition-Thanksgiving-Supplication.