Contemporary man is often cut off from nature; he lives in a world that is reduced to a universe of tarmac, concrete, and all kinds of screens. He is the prisoner of a fabricated world, a virtual world, the projection of his own fantasies, instead of being in contact with creation. As a result, he is sometimes cut off from God—and from himself (Jacques Philippe, Thirsting for Prayer).

The beautiful peak of autumn colors has arrived and passed in our little valley. The annual celebration of Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I always feel a disconnect from nature this time of year…like I am missing something right in front of me. As Advent approaches I always want to return to the ritual and prayers of the liturgical season. I miss the agricultural prayers in the liturgy. I think that we lose a connection to God as we lose our connection to the natural rhythms of the earth…for me anyway.

Advent is the beginning of the Christian year. In the old Celtic calendar tomorrow is the first day of Advent…the beginning of the year. The Celts extended the advent season to mimic the Lenten season of fourty days. Today, Advent is considered to be the four weeks prior to Christmas. I prefer the observance of fourty days. Tomorrow I plan to begin reading through “On the Incarnation” by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373 AD). I thought about reading it with the kids but I am not sure how they will take to the old language. Whatever I decide to read with the kids I plan to prepare a place for the Jesse Tree and observe a personal fast this season.

Our little town observed its own tradition this past week opening the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. We went to the Christmas Tree Lighting on the lawn of the Old Capitol Building. Later in the week we watched Polar Express at the Grand and visited with Santa. Littlest is the only one that gets excited to see Santa these days and I know they day is shortly arriving when that will no longer be true.

Our past couple of weeks have been quite ordinary…good kind of ordinary. We are all learning, growing and working. Blessed and simple days are ours right now.