Tomorrow is New Year's Day for the universal church. The church calendar officially begins on the first Sunday of Advent and that is tomorrow, December 1st. Several years ago I became interested in learning more about the church calendar. I didn’t grow up in a faith tradition that celebrated Advent or Lent and I was eager to know more about how the church through the ages recognized these seasons.
One of the things that intrigued me the most was the realization that Catholics and Protestants in various denominations read the same Scripture passages throughout the year by using a lectionary or book of common prayer. I grew up in a fundamentalist environment that looked at every other church as being sketchy and there was no corporate traditions or observances. I liked the idea of being a part of something that has been done through the ages by believers in many varied denominations. While of course, we have many differences, we do share some things in common and I liked thinking of God's family as one big diverse group throughout history.
For that reason, I've decided to begin the church year reading Scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary. It is comprised of three years (Year A, Year B, and Year C). Over those 3 years, it covers the major sections of Scripture and includes daily OT, NT and Psalms readings. The passages aren't long so that works for me as I've been into a slower reading of Scripture lately. This year, tomorrow, begins Year A so it's a great time for me to begin.
While I usually design my own study sheets or layouts, I've decided to keep it lo-key and use something already prepared. One thing I'm learning through the last few years is that I need to accept my limitations and work with them and not fight against them. So I'm taking it easy on myself and using a study journal from the Daily Grace Co. The one I was looking at was on sale this weekend so I took that as a sign!
While I usually start a new reading plan on the first of January, this year, I'm starting on the the first of December to start with the new Church calendar. I'm looking forward to it. I realize taking on a 3-year plan is a bit ambitious, but I'm not sure I'll want to continue it for 3 years. I might do so, but who knows. I'm unsure of how my "new normal" will play out once I'm done my last surgery and I get back to a more full life. So I'll take it day by day and see how it goes.
How about you? Have you thought about a new reading plan for the new year? I'd love to know your thoughts. And I've linked to the lectionary and the journal I'm using below.