Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In Step with the Ancient Story

By Stephanie Duncan, Moody Publishers Marketing Assistant

I am celebrating Christmas backwards this year.  For in all the festivities, traveling, and inclement weather, I missed two Sundays and therefore Advent slipped past me, much to my disappointment. 

I love Advent.  I have always wanted to be one of those elect families who cluster around the Advent wreath to light the next candle.  I am a sucker for those calendars people buy with the little doors you open each day with perhaps a candy inside if you’re lucky.  And I always look forward to the Christmas Eve service where the final candle is lit and the sanctuary is filled with choruses of Silent Night.  There’s just something about the anticipation, the coming promise, and the culmination of what the world has waited for in so small a child. 

So, because this season is special to me, I am making up for it now.  I am going through an Advent devotional and reading the prayers in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, a beautiful collection of prayers that appeals to the poet in me.

The “Prefaces for Seasons” in this book contains prayers that go through the whole church calendar.  The year starts with the season of Advent, moves to the season of the Incarnation, then on to the season of Epiphany, and so on.  I read it this morning, and thought, Would that my life glide as gracefully through these sacred cycles! Would that my life arrange itself from Sabbath to Sabbath, moving to the rhythm of the ancient story.

How different would our lives become if we choreographed them to Christ’s: anticipating His advent, singing with the angels at His birth, mourning at His sacrifice, praising “Hallelujah” at the news, “He is risen!” Surely, we will be blessed as we remember the story of salvation and try to live it faithfully. 

This is the prayer for the “First Sunday after Christmas Day”

Almighty God, who has poured upon us the new light of thine Incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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