Advent is the official beginning of the church calendar. It comes before the new calendar year and for many clergy, it is the kick off to starting over in telling the good news of the coming of the Divine here on earth. This year this starting over begins at the end of a long journey of living in a pandemic and having to start over again and again; learning and relearning how to work and care for each other safely.
The cyclic nature of the church calendar allows for time and space to rejoice in the birth of the Christ Child, waiting and wondering when the Divine will come, time to remember that we are called to share the good news at Pentecost and time to grieve as we follow Jesus footsteps in the cross. The church year ends in ordinary times as we remember the story of the prophets, creation, and study the letters of those trying to implement Jesus’s teachings into their lives after the resurrection.
The church calendar doesn’t always fit into other calendars. The time when most families and people have vacation is in the midst of high and holy seasons. The weekends that are meant to offer respite and rest are the longest workdays. There is a sense that clergy are constantly in another realm, working and preparing at odd times their work not fitting into traditional 9-5, M-Fr work culture.
This ebb and flow has been a part of my life for eight years now and this is the first time I am approaching the week of Christmas not completely drained. I am approaching Christmas with hope, peace, joy, and love holding onto the ways this different life has revealed what is most important. As we spend our days at home, joining in celebrations only virtually, I am basking in not traveling, not rushing, and not hurrying this week. Thanks be to God for light in the midst of these days.