My well-worn copy is even more well-worn now that I’ve been through the book several times. The New Christian Year isn’t so new anymore. My copy is from 1941 — and it was written in but not falling apart when I got it. I picked it up at a used bookstore, not knowing what a dear friend it would become. It’s falling apart now, like a Velveteen Rabbit of books.
Charles Williams introduced me to so many Christian thinkers — St. Augustine, John Donne, Lancelot Andrewes, William Law, and Blaise Pascal to name a few. The New Christian Year helped me fill my bookshelves with deep, rich books.
But, when I read Brueggemann’s Sabbath as Resistance earlier this year, I knew I was reading a modern author who would challenge me to change my life and deepen my faith. I ordered Gift and Task as soon as I finished the Sabbath book.
When it arrived, I set it aside. I would have to wait for Advent, the start of the Christian year.
My brand new copy of Walter Brueggemann’s Gift and Task beckoned me this morning.
All those pages so new and clean.
Oh — to write in the margins!
Brueggemann starts the Christian year not with light and hope, but with a roar.
…Advent is “in like a lion,” a roaring truthfulness that disrupts our every illusion…
…Christmas is not a safe, private, or even familial enterprise but is preoccupied with great public issues of war and peace and issues of economic justice that concern the worth and bodily well-being of human persons. Our Advent preparation may invite us to consider the ways in which we ourselves are complicit in the deep inhumanity of our current world.
Not what I was expecting at all.
Indeed, for me, Advent roared in like a lion, but Brueggemann concluded today with these words –
The lion opens space for the Lamb, who will arrive soon.
I hope I’m ready for this new Christian year.