In my experience, the practice of making personal resolutions at the change of the calendar year isn’t usually expressed as an intentionally spiritual practice. Why is that? Perhaps because New Year’s Day isn’t seen a “proper” religious holiday. However, you only have to look as far as its recently-passed holiday neighbor to see that it’s pretty easy for “real” Christian holidays to be transformed into something far beyond what those who first celebrated them might have imagined. So what might it mean for us to experience the New Year’s holiday as a more spiritually significant?
From angelic visions announcing that Mary will soon bear a son, a son who will change the world.
From Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, and her society-shaking song that proclaims that the lowly will be lifted up and the high-and-mighty brought down.
From John the baptist crying out in the wilderness: Repent! Turn your lives around! Prepare for God’s new way to break forth.
To the baby, ready to be born.
Look how far we’ve come.
There are certain points in our lives and in our world when we experience a shift, a turning, a change from one thing to another. It certainly seems we’re in the midst of such times right now, and the season of Advent serves as a potent reminder of how significant such turning points can be.
Last Tuesday I woke up early, just before dawn, to go for a walk. Even before I left the retreat center I could tell it would take a while for the morning light to shine through the thick layer of mist blanketing the landscape. Hiking through the pea-soup fog I made my way to the banks […]