Today marks the first Sunday of Advent. This is the beginning of the liturgical church year. A new year, a new start, but it begins by looking back. Advent is traditionally a time of penitence in the church year. A time to review actions to note the reason for the season; the coming of the Christ child. This has echoes in contemporary culture, have we been naughty or nice?
Advent – along with Mercury Retrograde and other significant dates this December – is prompting me to see this review in a deeper light.
Penitence, with its obvious link to sin and other religious connotations, can be seen as negative. Its dictionary meaning relates to feeling or showing sorrow and regret for doing wrong. One danger is our focus can be on the doing wrong instead of what our response is.
It can become far too easy to beat ourselves up instead of picking ourselves up. I don’t want to fall into that trap during this time.
Realising what we have done, both good and bad, can be beneficial. I have done wrong (whatever your definition of right and wrong is, I have mine), I have failed at things, I have made mistakes. I need to forgive and no doubt be forgiven. I have also done good, succeeded and begun walking down positive paths. I want to learn from these events. What I learn, I want to take with me.
One advantage of journaling, or keeping a diary, is that I can look back and be reminded of what has happened. I’m currently doing that. I’m sure it will bring up things I have forgotten, both happy and sad memories, but that is what a good review will do. As I kneel in penitence, I rise in stature. I take note of this year, so the next can be better – whatever I decide the definition of better to be for me.
As the sun sets on this day it is with a certain sense of irony that the full moon rises, a super full moon, to illuminate my thoughts during this time. Another deeper light, but more of that tomorrow…