Today is the first Sunday in Advent. For Western churches that follow the liturgical calendar, this is the start of the new church year.
I have mostly spent time in places where we haven’t really paid attention to that aspect of the day, but a couple of years ago I spent a short placement with a Church of Scotland congregation with a more liturgical approach to their worship than I was used to, and I was introduced to the rhythm of the year running under and through the rise and fall of day-to-day life.
The short season of Advent is a time of anticipation: of darkness waiting for light to break in (both physically and metaphorically), of the world waiting for the birth of Christ, of the world waiting for his return. There’s a tension around at this time of year, celebrating what has happened while waiting for what’s still to come.
This year I’ve discovered that it’s a reminder that we’re here, now. Living in the in-between time of the “now, but not yet”, I guess Christians have often been guilty of ignoring what’s going on around them — injustice, poverty, hunger… I know I have/am. But we are here, now, and there’s so much to see and remember and do.
Now in December, the pace has picked up over at The Mockingbird’s Leap as we’re practicing the attention that comes with being present in the world, the here and now. I’ve even been there already this afternoon.
It’s time to enjoy the tension-approaching-paradox of commemoration flavoured with anticipation, of the eye on forever that still takes in today, and to remember to look forward, and around, as well as back.