When I was a child, I felt like I was always waiting. I was waiting for my birthday, for Christmas, for the next holiday or the trip to Disneyland. I spent so much time waiting, then the one day I had been waiting for would come and go so quickly and I would again be waiting for the next big thing. Part of this is just how children view life, but part of this is the modern secular culture we live in.
I was raised Catholic, but other than attending Mass on Sundays, Catholicism was not part of our daily lives. So it came as quite a surprise to me when in college I became more involved in my faith and learned that the Church function in seasons. Christmas and Easter are not lone days of celebration on the calendar, but the first days of their own seasons. And this discovery changed not only how I view my faith, but how I organize my life. While secular society tells us that we need weeks (or months) to prepare for Easter or Christmas by buying gifts, decorating our homes, and planning our menus, our faith tells us that we need to take this time to prepare our hearts.
We do not have to overwork ourselves to prepare for one day; if all the decorations are not just so, if all the gifts aren't arranged perfectly under the tree or in the basket, if the ham burns, we have not ruined our holiday and have to wait another year to do it over. We have weeks to celebrate, we have months to enjoy our Christian holidays with our loved ones and our God.
I want to stop waiting and start living, stop preparing and start celebrating. Just as our ancestors arranged their lives around the natural seasons, organizing your life around the spiritual seasons can anchor you into the here and now, yet it also cultivates your soul for eternity. Every year we celebrate the same mysteries of our faith through the liturgical seasons, and each year we find that these same seasons play out differently than they did the year before, some are seasons of feast when we are able to truly engage with the Lord and some are of famine when we find our spiritual lives empty and in need of nourishment. But as it was meant to be, each season ends and the next begins and we find ourselves in the neverending rhythm of the Lord.