Advent and the start of the Christian calendar begins on Sunday, December 1st. Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000-year-old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate.
The Christian calendar enables us to re-tell, re-live, and re-enter the Jesus Story — from the crowded stable to the empty tomb. We are a peculiar people and we have a peculiar calendar. We live in a secular world but we belong to a sacred story. And so we have two calendars — one secular, one sacred. What we want is to be formed by the Gospel Story. And the Gospel is a story! The Gospel is not a plan or theory or philosophy or ideology — it is a story! The story of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the story told in the Christian calendar: Advent (waiting for Christ), Christmas (the twelve day celebration of Jesus’ birth), Epiphany (the revelation of Christ to the Gentile magi), Lent (the journey to the cross), Holy Week, (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday), Easter (Resurrection), Pentecost (the birth of the church). Then it’s Ordinary Time until we return to Advent.
To help you observe Advent in a richer, more meaningful way, we have created an Advent Scripture Reading Guide. It consists of one chapter from the Gospels each day, concluding with the stories of the birth of Jesus from Matthew and Luke on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So re-enter and re-live the mystery of the Gospel story through this Advent Scripture Reading Guide.