Only in the past couple of years have I started paying attention to the liturgical year. Growing up as a Baptist, I knew that Advent and Lent existed, and that’s about all I knew about the liturgical year. But where did these things come from, why do most Christians observe them? I really think that things like Advent and Lent make the most sense in the context of the Christian year, or liturgical calendar.
I’ve taken a Church History class but haven’t done a lot of research on the liturgical year, and the Wikipedia article (haha) didn’t give any information about its development. I think it is a great way to make sure you think about the complete life of Christ each year.
The first day of Advent is the first day of the new Christian year, and you start thinking about Christ coming to earth as a baby. But the last Sunday in the liturgical year is Christ the King Sunday, where Christ returning and reigning victorious is the focus. Initially it felt weird to me to jump from thinking about Christ the risen victorious King to Christ the child of humble birth. Like slamming on the theological brakes.
However, upon further reflection, there are a lot of things that flow together between the two celebrations. Anticipating the second coming of Jesus implies that he has already come once. Thinking about Christ coming at Christmas, seems to naturally also point our minds to his second coming. Especially with Christ the King Sunday in my rear view mirror, the Advent Scripture readings that herald Christ’s first Earthly coming ring with foreshadowing of Christ’s next coming.
These thoughts give me cause to reflect on my readiness for Christ’s second coming. After reflecting, I am forced to admit that there are some spiritual cobwebs that need to be cleaned out of my soul.
Lord, help me be ready to meet you both in the manger and on the throne.