No, I am not crazy, or at least no more than usual. This is the beginning of a new Church year.
The liturgical calendar begins with the first Sunday of Advent and that is today, so Happy New Year!
The four Sundays of Advent are there to help us prepare for Christmas. To prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the unique fully-human / fully-divine being. They can also prepare us for all the delights that this season holds as far as parties and celebrations of all kinds go. There is a false dichotomy that many folks fall into. This particular pitfall is usually encountered by people who discover Advent in the liturgical sense as adults and then turn it into what is practically a dour religious festival more puritanical than joyful. Try not to be one of those people, you can enjoy presents and all the cultural trappings of Christmas even as you dive into the deeper meaning of this season.
So the first Sunday of Advent is the Hope Sunday. “Hope” is a much trickier word than you might think at first. It has a number of meanings, if you take a look at Dictionary.com for “hope” for example you’ll find five meanings for it as a noun and four more for it as a verb. What I was working toward in today’s sermons was the notion that “hope” in the Advent season is more than a desired outcome over which we have no control, for example, a football game. It is also more than a rhetorical flourish such as “I hope the sun rises tomorrow.” I was looking to spend some time talking about what a “certain hope” looks like.
Knox Presbyterian Hope
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Hope
My hope (see, that word is everywhere!) is that you will find this Advent season one of rest and anticipation, joy and delight, and most of all, refreshing to your soul.