Our new liturgical year is inviting us

Nov 28, 2021

Am I the only person who feels cheated by the calendar this year? Adding the first Sunday of Advent to Thanksgiving weekend is a game changer for me.

Lighting the lone purple candle on the Advent wreath within a short three days of Thanksgiving interrupts my holiday rhythm. This year is especially strenuous in that I'm still snacking on turkey leftovers while the secular world is clamoring to decorate Christmas trees even before Cyber Monday hits our wallets.

But this year, before we flip the calendar to December, we're knee-deep jumping to the next big thing - which is one of the biggest things - the birth of Jesus. Our new liturgical year is inviting us in like an impromptu dinner date – catching me a little off guard and slightly unprepared.

My solution is a combo. I traditionally treat Thanksgiving as a sort of New Year’s Eve. I take stock of the incredible blessings of the current year. The days leading up to the beginning of the new liturgical year give me space to thank God for the good, the rough, the silly, and the sad of my year. Thanksgiving settles me and helps me make a pathway to Advent.

This year’s calendar has given us an action-packed weekend so let’s face it head-on. There’s no breather week to wrap up Thanksgiving décor and wash all those dinner dishes. Instead of easily sliding into sprucing for the Christmas season my home is filled with totes overflowing with pumpkins getting mixed up with that string of tangled Christmas lights.

I’m grateful St. John Paul II teaches us to:

“Remember the past with gratitude. Live the present with enthusiasm. Look forward to the future with confidence.”

Take a moment to view your trials and tribulations this past year with genuine gratitude. Finally understand that everything God allowed us to experience is to deepen our character. Embrace the present moment with passion born out of appreciation mingled with hope for what is to come – all in a spirit of giving thanks.

Additionally, the first Sunday in Advent is a kind of New Year’s Day – the second half of the combo. Just as on January 1, the anticipation of a fresh year warms me. The endless possibilities of blessings to come in the new liturgical year give me hope. I open my heart to welcome them. I ponder what God may have in store for me. I know that He was with me in each moment of this year, and He strengthens me with confidence for the coming one.

Let’s have the same excitement for and confidence in the liturgical new year as we do for each new calendar year.

Let’s get excited for Jesus.

Get excited!

 By Mary Mahan-Deatherage, Spoken Women Team and creator of Divine, Clever or Whatever blog.
Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

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