The Festival of St. John the Evangelist on 27 December marks the beginning of a new Masonic Year in many Grand Jurisdictions. It is the date that the Craft resets itself, looks again to the future, and – in many cases – gears itself up to its highest level of energy of the year.
Even though the elections of Lodge officers may take place weeks or maybe even a month in advance of 27 December, those officers do not officially assume their duties until the Festival of St. John the Evangelist. Some Lodges do not officially install the new officers until that date – sometimes in the form of public installation ceremonies. That practice, however, is not as popular as it once was due to increasingly mobile and scattered families which necessitate a fair amount of traveling during the week or two surrounding the Christmas holiday.
The days between the election/appointment date and the date that an officer officially assumes his duties are often an exciting and nervous time – especially for a new Master-elect. I went through it and I see my new Master-elect going through it right now – which may account for the rash of emails and long phone conversations that I am exchanging with him. New Masters-elect tend to use this brief calm before the storm to plan or refine their upcoming terms in the East. Very often, they also begin to second guess themselves and wonder about what they have gotten themselves into.
Most of them are coming from the Senior Warden’s chair and are already aware of the behind the scenes workings of their Lodge – such as its financial situation and its collective vision for the future. A hard realization, however, hits them when it sinks in that they are soon to be at the helm and they will be ultimately responsible for the financial situation and staying on the vision’s course – or getting the Lodge back on course.
Either way, it is an exciting time of the year for most Lodges. In my experience, attendance picks up for at least a month or two as the Craft comes out to get a feeling on how the new Master and his officers are going to do and to soak in the excitement generated by the new leadership.
Tomorrow, we reset and begin again.