You may think I'm a bit early--or maybe you worry that December zoomed right by you.
No, I'm not talking about December 31, 2017. I'm talking about the liturgical year, which ends today. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, although with Christmas Eve on a Sunday, many churches might have already started observing Advent.
What if we used this day the way that some of us might use New Year's Eve? We could serve champagne and stay up to greet the new year at midnight.
Far better, though, if we use this day to think about our spiritual lives, especially the past year of our spiritual lives. What has fed us spiritually in the past year? What might we like to see more of in the year to come?
For me, it's been a stormy spiritual year. My work life has consumed more hours than I'm used to, as we geared up for an accreditation site visit. Many of my friends have been working through new milemarkers in their lives: new jobs, new houses, impending moves, children/family members in transition too. And then, there have been literal storms, like Hurricane Irma, which has left many of us considering our life choices.
I am pleased that I held onto some of the spiritual practices that moor me, even as I've felt increasingly adrift. But make no mistake: I am tired of feeling like a tiny ship taking on water on a stormy sea.
I am ready for the occasional retreat that helps to restore me. This past year, I couldn't go to the Create in Me retreat because it coincided with our accreditation visit. This year, I've already requested and been granted the leave time for that retreat. I'm hoping to get to Mepkin Abbey too.
I am ready for regular creative practices that inject delight into my week. I've done a fair job at my sketchbook journaling, but I finished a poetry legal pad today, and I didn't write as many rough drafts of poems this past year as other years.
Perhaps it is time to get more involved in worship planning. I've done some of that in the past year. I've written prayers for the liturgy, which I always enjoy. I've liked the days when I've been in charge of the whole service, although those days do leave me exhausted. For Advent, I'm in charge of 3 of our interactive service, which I'm looking forward to.
In this new year, I also want to stay open to all of the possibilities. I want to remember the Advent message of the importance of staying alert and awake. And I want to remember that new life can come out of the ashes--when it looks like all is over (think Elizabeth), the new vision might be unfolding.