The Joy of Feast Days – Advent

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This was originally printed in the Northeast Region of the Episcopal Church in CT Newsletter – enjoy!

Advent is an excellent season to try on a new rule of life. If you’ve been wanting to try one of the habits from Bishop Curry’s Way of Love, I encourage you to take that first step this December. Advent is the beginning of our liturgical church year. We take down the green falls and say farewell to the long (good golly, it’s long) season of Pentecost. We start fresh with new readings, new collects, new energy. Just as the new calendar year propels us to try a new habit, let the momentum of this new church year move you towards that daily thing – that daily turning, learning, praying, worshiping, blessing, going, or resting thing that the Spirit has been nudging you to do. You know what I’m talking about.

And I know what you’re about to say. It’s December, crazy Eating Liturgically Lady. We’re already doing so much in December. Who starts something new in December?
Well…we do. We followers of Jesus do. We’re part of the temporal world, sure, and we of course do a great deal in December in that world. But we’re also not of this world. We are separate. And in December? We start the new year weeks before the calendar year shifts, and the first thing we do in this new year is…wait.
Which brings me to my second suggestion. If you have been considering Eating Liturgically as something to try on, Advent is an excellent season for it. We already talked about the new year momentum. Now let’s talk about what it’s like to eat Fierce while others are Feasting.
In my Eating Liturgically discipline, I honor Feast days and Fast Days, which are laid out in our calendar in the Book of Common Prayer. For me, I realized I needed a focus on the days that are not Feast or Fast days in order to keep those days special and distinct. I call these other days “Fierce Days” because alliteration is fun and, on those days, I strive to eat healthily and well so I can go out and do the work God has given me to do. I’m Fierce.
We know that stores put out Christmas decorations around Halloween. We know that people start the Christmas season well before Dec 25, with parties and treats and chocolate and all. We also know that…for us, on our calendar, it is not yet Christmas. We are waiting and preparing in Advent. That tension of eating Fiercely amidst the world’s Feasting is a visceral, tangible, deeply powerful way to orient yourself to that waiting space. To “not yet”.
Now, I would never Yuck your Yum. I confess, my Sunday Feast Days in December are very full of seasonal holly jolly treats. I also go to Christmas parties and enjoy when they come up on my calendar – but I do hold back a bit. I am very specific and mindful of those times I feast, and when the tension between what the world is doing and what I am doing inevitably arises, I notice it. I breathe. I pray.
We are waiting. We are waiting for our Messiah to come. In these modern times, there is not much we have to wait for, really. It is a good sensation to embrace.
If you are interested, I invite you to experience waiting this Advent. Really feel it.
I promise you, the 12 Feast Days of Christmas will feel remarkably new if you do.

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