Today marks the first Sunday of 2020, the beginning of a new year and a new decade. This is at least true for the major part of our world today in which most countries have adopted the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes. But let us pause to think for a moment. Have you ever wondered how much our lives are determined by the calendar we adopt?
Calendars exert a powerful rhythm of life and we are all profoundly affected by it, whether consciously or subconsciously. Once this rhythm is established, it shapes to a large extent our outlook and lifestyle. Mondays to Fridays compels most of us to wake up by a certain time in order to be ready for school or work. Weekends are the days most of us can afford to sleep in and catch up on our precious sleep. During the public and school holidays, our lives are again conformed to a different schedule; and memorable days in our personal calendar (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries) have yet another impact on how we feel and what we do.
This is why it is important for many of our Protestant churches today to recover and revolve our lives once more around the Christian calendar and its important festivals. This calendar is based on the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. It exalts him to the centre and hence invites us to live our lives in a way which patterns after his. Thankfully, here in our beloved church, we still commemorate the Advent season, Palm Sunday and Good Friday cum Easter.
As you have experienced recently through the Advent season, which really is the start of a new year in the Christian calendar, we entered a state of expectant and hopeful waiting for God coming to us as the Incarnate Word on that first Christmas. Year after year, it reminds us of the Christmas story and stirs up in us to await with the same joy and hope for his second coming.
But if this Christian calendar is forgotten, other calendars will invariably fill the gap and our lives will increasingly be governed by the rhythms of other calendars. The life of Christ will eventually become irrelevant to us as our outlook and lifestyles become more and more secular, as we move to the beat and rhythm of the world.
In this “new year,” may our lives move more and more to the rhythm of our Lord.