Today, the First Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of the Christian year. We incorporate workouts, physical therapy, and other fitness and wellness routines into our daily lives; why not set aside time starting on this Christian New Year's Day to build our religious and spiritual strength?
In adventure books and movies, The "X" on a map marks the spot where treasure hunters start digging. Likewise, page "x" in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer marks the spot where our treasure lies -- riches that are ours to claim.
The Christian Year
Part of the greatness of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is that, In addition to providing us, in clear and magnificent language, with a map through every occasion of our lives from baptism to burial, it opens the door to the entire Bible over a year. The Lectionary, or "Psalms and Lessons for the Christian Year," which precedes the text, schedules readings from the Bible. Some lectionaries in other books include readings for Sunday worship only, or over more than a year, but the 1928 Book of Common Prayer guides us through the entire Bible over the course of one year.
This Lectionary follows an orderly and logical progression, starting with prophesies of the coming of our Lord. Today, go to "x" and begin:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. -- Malachi 3:1 King James Version (KJV)
It's a good time to make a New Year's resolution to set aside time during the morning and evening for personal devotion
Keep your Prayer Book and Bible together in a convenient place. Set aside the same times each day for prayer and reading. The best times are in early morning when the day is fresh and new, before mundane activities encroach, and evening, well before sleepiness sets in. Why consign time for worship to the dregs of the day? Stick to your resolution for several days, after which your daily devotions will become an integral part of your daily life.
Praise him, sun and moon
My own year's journey began today with an experience that evoked Psalm 148, scheduled in the Lectionary for later in Advent, that includes:
Praise him, sun and moon:* Praise him, all ye stars and light. . . .
For he hath spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.
He hath made them fast for ever and ever; * he hath given them a law which shall not be broken. . . .
This evening right after sunset the full "Supermoon" -- an unusually bright and large "Cold Moon" -- rose straight out of the Gulf of Maine, cutting through the clouds, bathing the sky and sea with light.
At home later, I read the First Sunday in Advent Lesson for Evening Prayer, which includes the inspirational words:
"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." --
Thess. 5:5, 1928 Book of Common Prayer, page xi
. . . and the inspirational Collect for today, on page 90 of your 1928 Prayer Book, which is to be repeated every day until Christmas.
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
Why wait? Start now. Worship well. "X", marks the spot where you'll find your immutable treasure -- the Word of God through Scripture.