The Jewish feast cycle and the Christian calendar each offer holidays that are meant to serve as an on-ramp into the intersection of time and eternity. These days of yes point us beyond our own everyday agendas and connect us with our place in a bigger, more beautiful story. If you attend a non-denominational congregation, your church may focus primarily on Christmas and Easter along with non-holiday holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Church Picnic Day. If you attend a liturgical congregation, you’re likely familiar with the rhythms of the Church calendar, which recounts the story of Jesus’s life through a yearly cycle of observance. If you have a Jewish background or attend a Messianic congregation, you recognize the distinct cadence of the Leviticus 23 feast cycle and historical holidays of the Jewish calendar. For each one of us who loves the Scriptures and wants to get to know the Author of those Scriptures better, each holiday in the Jewish calendar and the traditional Christian calendar is an opportunity to learn – and then take that learning off the page/screen and consider how to include it in your own practice. Throughout the year, this blog will feature a 5-minute intro to each main holiday or season found in both calendars.
I am continuing my series on these calendar days today by looking at the first movement of the Christian calendar year – Advent. I’ll offer a bit of historical background along with some helpful resources in the “5 W’s and an H” Q & A resource I’m creating on this blog for each holiday or season in both calendars.
Advent is the beginning of the Christian worship year for the Western Church. The Western Church includes the Roman Catholic Church and almost all Protestant congregations. The Eastern (Orthodox) church observes a time of preparation leading up to Christmas that has some kinship to Western Advent. Western Christians, which includes the majority of believers in the U.S., observe Advent as a beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas. [Read more]