living liturgically (season one, episode one, advent 2021)

I’m a week late, but I shall say happy new year anyway.

This is the first Advent that I’ve managed to live the season in any meaningful way, and what I’ve come to realize is that just as suffering can enter me into the story of Jesus, living the liturgical seasons does the same thing in a different way. It’s a path of continued transformation, bringing me deeper into my relationship with Jesus and living intentionally. Spirituality for me requires both intention and spontaneity, being open to having the rug pulled out from underneath me and following Jesus down a path I am not comfortable with, and also intentionally taking on certain practices to make sure I remain spiritually healthy.

Spirituality has always been complex for me, and specific practices help keep me grounded. This year I’m going to attempt to live the seasons of the church year in a deliberate way, focusing specifically on the lessons and story of each season. I’m going to be more focused in observing the cycles and follow Jesus through participating in the story in order. There will be times of excitement, as well as times of discomfort. One thing I have learned is that the Christian life is not meant to be comfortable, and if it is comfortable, then I’m doing it wrong.

I’m planning on documenting my journey through the year here, posting an update each Sunday on what I’ve learned and how the journey is going. Advent so far has been a time of upheaval and change for me, a time of sitting with sadness that I’ve not given myself the freedom of feeling or processing before. I’ve had to confront themes and issues that I would rather not. I’ve realized that I need to prepare myself to let Jesus in. The incarnation changes absolutely everything. As the anticipation in Advent builds towards celebrating Emmanuel, God-with-us, my job is to let Jesus in completely.

One of the uncomfortable things I’m having to sit with this Advent is the idea of family and origins. I’ve really connected with Mother Mary this past year, and it’s been difficult to give up the idea that I don’t need mothering and to embrace it. I’m estranged from my family of origin, but thankfully God has given me family both with the great people I’m blessed to know, and through the communion of saints. I don’t like talking about family, I don’t like thinking about family, but as I’ve walked through Advent so far, I’ve noticed that family is so important here that the lineage was carefully traced and ancestors were acknowledged through out the generations.

Stay tuned for season one, episode two next Sunday!

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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