Ours is a secular age. The sacred is pushed to the periphery. To keep the sacred at the center of our lives is a heroic act of defiance. Spirituality is not enough. Amorphous spirituality too easily becomes little more than a mood with a sprinkling of “wellness” techniques. We need something more rigorous, something more deeply rooted, something that draws upon the deep wells of ancient wisdom and practice. This is what we find in the Great Tradition of the Christian faith. Within the Great Tradition we have a sacred calendar—a way of marking time through the course of the year by telling the story of Jesus Christ. We have a secular calendar to coordinate our lives within a secular age, and we have a sacred calendar to form our lives through the gospel story. Of course, Christmas is now firmly entrenched in the secular calendar as well, but the way the sacred calendar and the secular calendar approach Christmas is quite different. The demand of the secular “Christmas Season” is to be in a great hurry, while the aim of Advent is to instill a quiet slowness into our soul. Advent is four weeks of longing for the coming of Messiah. Advent is about waiting—a practice most of us in our secular age struggle with. Yet patience a holy virtue we need to cultivate. On the first Sunday in Advent, we embrace the slowness, we lean into the waiting. And this is good for our soul.