Many Christian traditions celebrate Advent and Easter, yet they have abandoned the rest of the church calendar. I am learning how Advent and Easter fit into a bigger picture. Beginning with Advent, the liturgical calendar traces the events of Christ’s life and conforms our lives to his. In the rhythm of the church year, our lives become hid with Christ. We find our life in his life. His story becomes our story. Why participate in this ordering rhythm throughout the year? Here is Thomas Howard's explanation in The Liturgy Explained:
“The idea in all of this is the same as in all human celebrations and anniversaries: it is a good thing for us mortal creatures to be vividly reminded at regular intervals of something that is always true anyway (a marriage, a birth). It helps us. It freshens our imagination. Perhaps angels experience an eternal, perfectly clear, sameness of awareness. We cannot. We have to keep coming back around to what is true.”
As we approach Advent and come back around to the truth of Christ’s birth, we are called to prepare our hearts for the coming of God to us – not only in his Nativity, but also in his Second Coming.
[Quote from Howard, Thomas and Betsy Corwin. The Liturgy Explained. Wilton, Conn: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981 (37).]