Why Does Advent Start Our Liturgical Calendar?

Why does Advent start our liturgical calendar? Why not some high holy day, like Easter or Christmas itself? After some digging resulting in no answer to hang my hat on, I looked again at the readings for this Advent, I had the insight that perhaps we start in Advent to remind us of the beginning of our own journey with Christ. So for the next 4 weeks our reflections are going to look at the readings in that light, and we begin today with looking at life before our relationship with Christ, to know where we’ve been.

The Gospel gives us some foundation for what this time is like. Christ speaks of the time before the flood where people live a life aloof from God, busied with daily activity and living. Yet in the same way the flood came for Noah, there comes for many of us a spiritual realization that we are accountable for our time and actions, that there is more to life than what the world can offer. 

Paul’s words this week illustrate what follows this realization and turning out of worldly affairs. While it may not have involved the same kind of ‘drunkenness’ or ‘debauchery’ as Paul writes about, our time before Christ often does involve trying to fill up a God-sized-hole with anything that we can get our hands on. But Paul’s answer to this search points us toward starting our journey: ‘instead put on the Lord Jesus Christ!”

The words of Isaiah then come to bear as his prophecy reveals people from all over the world streaming to the house of the Lord. Seeking a new path for their lives, they come to listen to the wisdom of God and turn from the lives they led before, ‘turning weapons into ploughshares’ as scripture says!

In Christianity, there seems to be a standard story of redemption. From St. Paul, to St. Augustine, to the testimony in the Alpha videos, we see the story of those who were living against God, encountered Jesus, and now live for Christ. I think one of the reasons those testimonies are so powerful is because it behooves us to see where all saints come from: sinners! As we journey through this Advent, let us take stock of our starting point, of our hang-ups and distractions, so that when the end of this liturgical year arrives we might have taken this journey anew, awake to Christ’s invitation to come and follow Him!

Written by: Alex Craven, Family Faith Formation Coordinator