Yesterday, we began a new liturgical (church) year on the First Sunday of Advent. For the next four weeks, we will be anticipating the blessings of Christmas and preparing our homes and hearts for the upcoming liturgical season of Christmastide. One of the Scripture readings yesterday was taken from the prophet Isaiah:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. (Isaiah 2:4)
I used to wear a plowshare pin, a symbol of a sword bent into a plow, but in my many moves, it has gone missing. (The ones that I find now on the web are not the simple design I favor.) Wearing the pin reminded me of the need to pray for peace and to act with justice.
Advent is a time of beginnings. For me, that means new commitments for the coming year. You may recall a post from last year where I talked about making “new year’s resolutions” on the First Sunday of Advent and not on January 1st. I would like to share them with you. In that way, I will feel accountable to you for keeping my promises! Throughout 2017, I commit to:
- Taking better care of myself
- Continuing to develop an ecological spirituality
- Making space for what matters
- Being generous to others
I have detailed each commitment with 3 or 4 specific actions, but that is probably more than you want to know. Advent is also a time to begin a new journal of reflections – the seeds of which eventually show up on this blog.
Advent is a time for traditions celebrated in new ways. My Advent wreath is new this year but its meaning remains the same. In this season, I enjoy listening to my favorite CD: Adviento by Jaime Cortez. A good friend gave me that CD for my long drive to Florida eight years ago. I think of her – and the transition drive – each time I listen to the Advent songs in Spanish and English. I recommend that you look for a YouTube version of Advent Litany (Letanía de Adviento). In some ways, it is an updated version of the traditional Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Q. What are your traditions and new beginnings at this time of year?
Q. Will you make resolutions or commitments for the new year, now or on January 1st?