December 4, 2006

Happy New Year

And so the year of grace 2007 is upon us, and another advent has begun. I really appreciate it when advent rolls around. It's like a fresh start, a new year. The lectionary cycles turn over, and you switch to volume I of the Liturgy of the Hours, which is always the last beat up volume in a given set. (I have an elaborate theory on this too, why the order of beat-upedness in any set of breviaries is I-III-II-IV) It's like the spiritual life equivalent of the beginning of school, when you delight in clean notebooks and sharp crayons.

At such a dark time of year, it's the perfect space for such a mystical season. I find advent mystical because we try to appreciate three things at once: the Incarnation of the Word in the human life of Jesus of Nazareth, the novelty and joy of the Incarnation of Christ in ourselves through our Baptism and Holy Communion, and the final advent of the Risen Lord at the end of time. The great thing is that these three comings of the Lord are not discrete; in fact they blend in with each other and identify with each other. That's what makes advent so mystical and mysterious for me.

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