Thursday, November 20, 2014
From the upcoming Newsletter of St. Benedict's
I decided to share these thoughts with readers of The Continuum.
Advent Christmas Epiphany 2014-15
Every year, at this time, I am acutely aware of the difference between how the commercial world views this season, and how we should view it. To the department stores and shopping malls “Christmas” runs from – what? Maybe the fourth of July? - until December 25, when they are grudgingly forced to close for a whole day. They think it is all over at 12:01 AM December 26. Suddenly, when the twelve-day season of Christmas is just beginning, they have ended their season. Some stores advertise what they now call “the twelve days of Christmas,” by which they mean the last twelve days of Advent, the “shopping days” leading up to the unfortunate day in which they cannot make anymore money.
But to us, the twelve days of Christmas begin with the Feast of the Nativity on December 25, and end just in time for the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Beginning, this year, on November 30, we enter the season of Advent, beginning a new church year.
Now, I say all this because the world has converted our holy days and liturgical seasons into something unrecognizable, and the secular “Christmas” has a way of applying pressure of its own that can, if we let it, drown out the true meaning for us. To some degree that is unavoidable; so just remember not to let it spoil your joy in Christ. To those who will be celebrating His Nativity on the day we call Christmas (Christ Mass), a blessed, holy and merry Christmas. To those who do not, well…May they have a nice December 25.
As we enter Advent, the beginning of the church year, a penitential season, you might want to begin using, if you have not already begun, the practice of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer. The season opens with Messianic words of the Prophet Isaiah, included in the scheduled readings from the Bible. This marvelous Rule (Regula) of Life is one of the great gifts of our Anglican heritage in the Book of Common Prayer. I will be glad to help any of you who want to practice it, and who may have questions about how to use the Book of Common Prayer.