I’m thinking this post is two days too late, even as you’re thinking I’m thirty days too early. It’s true though; it is a new year already. I can hear the songs announcing it in the streets, see the decorations proclaiming it on houses and shops. It is a new year, time to be busy making good on New Year’s resolutions and counting down to a certain special date that you may have heard of… Christmas.
In the calendar of the Church, it is the season of Advent that begins the year. Advent is from the Latin word adventus which means ‘coming’ and it is this time of year that we simultaneously look backward and forward.
Backward to an adventus that has already occurred; a birth some two thousand years ago in a stable somewhere in the backwater province of a mighty Empire to the wife of a poor laborer. It sounds like the beginning to a great, fantastic story; only this is both a true story and the middle of the story. People had been waiting thousands of years for this particular child, and they’d simultaneously imagined he’d be greater and less than what he was in the end.
We also look forward, forward to an adventus that has yet to come. One day, a moment will come suddenly, like a thief in the night. We don’t know much about the day, but on that day ever knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD.
This is how we begin our year; looking backward, and looking forward. It is a time to examine ourselves, and look to grow in faith with Jesus Christ who walks with us even now. Hopefully, this is also how we live our year – looking back to Christ, and looking forward to Christ.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me. – Line from a prayer by St. Patrick (c. 377)