By Jonathan Algner: (at the link read his explanations)
With the arrival of Advent this upcoming week, I’ve been thinking a bit about the benefits of following the Christian year. I’ll admit that this is a practice I once disregarded with sneers of haughty derision. But over the past decade, I’ve grown to see the liturgical year as one of the more important of our Christian traditions. Here are a few reasons why.
- It reminds us that we are a people set apart, and as such our lives aren’t oriented around nominal civic holidays and observances.
- It distinguishes our holy days from their secular knock-off celebrations.
- It organizes and shapes our lives by the Christian story, instead of the things the kingdom of the world holds valuable.
- The colors are so pretty.
- It brings texture to our gathered worship..
- It unites us with the holy catholic church, past, present, and future.
- It disciplines us to linger in the valley instead of rushing toward the mountaintop.
- It helps church leadership avoid the narcissistic and self-referential pursuit of our own personal agendas.
- It reminds us of the parts of the Gospel story we often forget or neglect.
- It is a supremely effective method of discipleship.
There is no better time to discover (or rediscover) the power in this beautiful discipline.
SMcK: I add one more, rarely mentioned but formative: God gave Israel a sacred calendar to keep Israel on mission. The church calendar follows that divine pattern.