Folks in liturgical churches (Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.) began a new year Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent.
Twice in the last week, I've given a little presentation on the Liturgical calendar to various church groups, so I thought I'd share some of that with you. The theory behind the calendar is to mark the cycle of Jesus' life and how it reflects in our own. Through the seasons of the church - including Advent, Christmas, Lent (those vary among denominations) - we mark the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Those episodes have direct correlation to our own spiritual journey.
Advent (the word means "to come") starts the year with a time of reflection and penance. It's not unlike the way we start the secular year with reflections and resolutions. But Advent prepares us for the great feast of Christmas, the birth of Jesus.
It's also a time of great cultural traditions. How many of us had Advent Calendars (the best kind came with chocolate) to countdown to Christmas? And many churches broke out Advent wreaths this weekend to mark the four Sundays of the season.
Do you have special traditions for Advent? Even if you don't celebrate Advent, how do you spiritually prepare yourself for Christmas?