Happy New Year!
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 tradition 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. When I was growing up in Baptistland, I never heard of the liturgical calendar. Church just wasn’t organized that way. Oh sure, we had our annual 6-week Christmas celebration, and Easter was a fairly big deal. But next to those, the biggest “feasts” we celebrated were Independence Day, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day, and Thanksgiving (and in that order). Most of the year was spent in a sort of liturgical purgatory; a perpetual ordinary time without the guidance of any real Christian organization, and revolving around whatever the pastor wanted. But as Christians, we serve a higher throne, and our purpose in gathering together isn’t ever nationalism, cultural pride, or sentimentality. I love grilling on a warm summer evening, but the 4th of July has nothing to do with the Christian story, and neither do fond remembrances of mom and dad, or commemorating that one time the Pilgrims let the Native Americans dine at their table.
- It distinguishes our holy days from their secular knock-off celebrations. I do love many things about this time of year. The weather, hitting the mall late into the evening, holiday parties, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (“Where’s the Tylenol?”). But, as fun and exciting as these things can be, the discipline of the church year helps us realize that these things are merely periphery.
Read more at http://www.theologyinworship.com/2014/11/24/10-reasons-to-follow-the-christian-year/